Make sure as you move into the summer that you are doing everything possible to organize and inform yourself of tasks that need to be completed before the next school year. Make a calendar of what to expect and pencil in items for action on specific dates. Here are a few important topics to consider for each stage of planning you are at.

High school students: Check with your guidance counselor to make sure you have the most current information regarding summer opportunities and scholarships available. Make sure that you are keeping a list of your activities to help when creating your resume.

College students: Make sure you are using the student services at your school to keep informed of research and training opportunities. If you are still undecided on a major, make sure you meet with your instructors to find out how different majors may help you to obtain certain jobs.

If you are applying to schools next fall or transferring to another college, remember to view the common application at to get and idea of what the colleges will be expecting from you. There will be areas about SAT/ACT scores, personal information, clubs and organizations, and an essay section. Take some time to think through what topics would be important for you to develop into essays. The essay is an opportunity for the student to show a side of themselves that may be missed on the application. Seniors should be finalizing their list of colleges and researching each of their schools by signing onto their individual websites. Some schools will request a supplemental essay as well as an application.

Remember to write down college planning action items on your calendar, or the summer will go by too fast — without any action!

• Bob McDonnell is executive director of Arizona College Planners, L.L.C., a member of the College Planning Network, the National Association of College Funding Advisors and the National Association of College Acceptance Counselors. For questions, email

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