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College Preparatory Summer Enrichment Study Plans (SESP)

June 16, 2010

Warning – the suggestions in this article fall under the category of advice your teenager will appreciate (but only after the fact).  Summer should be fun and a time to unwind from the school year (parents included) and summer is a terrific opportunity for college preparation.

This article focuses on a very simple, yet practical, option for students that can be completed at home over the summer – creating a week-by-week Summer Enrichment Study Plan (SESP).  The plan below (an actual Summer Enrichment Study Plan prepared for a student entering her sophomore year) helps prepare the student for the PSAT/NMSQT as well as gets her a head start on Advanced Placement European History (aka “AP Euro”).  The student also has assigned summer tasks from her high school (in this specific case, assignments from Dublin High School for both Advanced English and Advanced Placement European History).

By taking end 0f summer goals and breaking them down into weekly tasks what appears at first to be overwhelming is achievable when looked at on a week-by-week basis.  Having specific weekly tasks also provides the student frequent checkpoints to record achievement and feel a sense of accomplishment. Depending on the student’s other activities the amount of work can be varied (including incorporating free weeks or accounting for vacations involving the entire family).

The first step in preparing a Summer Enrichment Study Plan is defining clear goals.  In this real example the goals are a combination of assignments from Dublin High School and enrichment goals crafted by the student’s parents:

Summer Enrichment Study Plan: Sample Goals

  • Read “A Separate Peace” and prepare 40-50 quote notes: assigned by Dublin High School Advanced English teacher
  • Complete literary device definitions / memorize: assigned by Dublin High School Advanced English teacher
  • Complete Advanced Placement European History (AP Euro) worksheet: assigned by Dublin High School AP European History teacher
  • Complete PSAT preparation and take sample tests: enrichment (all PSAT/NMSQT prior tests used in this plan are available for purchase for $3 each from the CollegeBoard – available here); in this plan 2007 tests are used (with 2008/9 prior tests saved for use during the 2010/11 school year)
  • Read and complete sample tests (source text: 5 Steps to a 5: AP European History): enrichment

Summer Enrichment Study Plan: Sample Week-by-Week Plan

Week Tasks
7/12 Mid-Summer Break
  • AP Euro: Ch. 15 & 16
  • PSAT online prep – improving sentences: 1-7
  • PSAT/NMSQT prior test: 2007 Form W Section 5
  • AP Euro: Ch. 17 & 18
  • PSAT online prep – improving paragraphs: 1-5
  • PSAT/NMSQT prior test:2007 Form S Section 5
  • AP Euro: Ch. 19 & 20
  • PSAT/NMSQT prior test: 2007 Form W Sections 1 & 2
  • AP Euro: Ch. 21 & 22
  • PSAT/NMSQT prior test: 2007 Form W Sections 3 & 4
  • AP Euro Practice Test 1 (multiple choice only)
  • PSAT/NMSQT prior test: 2007 Form S Sections 1 – 4
8/23 End of Summer / Start of School

This is just an example – the point isn’t the specifics of this plan, but rather that having a week-by-week plan makes it much less intimidating to accomplish goals. A plan is only a plan if written down – writing down a plan, even if a very simple plan, forces making choices and thinking through the details.

College preparation can take many forms – from building volunteer hours through community service (more information available here) to writing scholarship applications (more information available here).  Work experience, extra credit community college courses, SAT prep courses and focused tutoring can all play an important role in college preparation.

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