College Plan Timeline:


Senior year classes fill up fast. If you didn’t get what you wanted, see if you can find summer courses that can fill in the gaps.

Get that pesky AP summer reading out of the way and sign up for summer classes to get ahead before senior year.

Unfortunately, your summers of leisure time down by the lake/beach/pool are probably behind you. While this is most likely the last summer you’ll spend with some of your high school friends, it’s also a summer that requires a little bit of self-restraint and quite a bit of personal responsibility.

Summer School

Summer school has always been given a bad rap, but it can serve as an important step in getting you back on track the summer before your senior year.

Not only can summer classes keep you poised for an on-time graduation, they can also help you prepare for admissions requirements at your prospective colleges. As we’ve discussed, colleges have a variety of often stringent requirements. And you may not have enough time in your senior schedule to take everything you need.

Finally, summer courses can help relieve the stress of a full senior year. Most students’ senior years are packed to the gills with AP courses, college applications, college visits, and intense decisions. You can lighten your load by getting some of the harder classes out of the way during the summer, which will allow you more time to focus on your college search.

AP Summer Reading/Assignments

It’s not out of the question for Honors and AP courses to require summer reading or assignments before classes begin in the fall. (Sorry!) While AP summer reading is most common in English and social studies courses, calculus, biology, chemistry and economics courses can also have summer assignments.

To get an idea of what you might be required to do, take a look that summer reading requirements at Bruton High School, part of the York County Schools in Virginia:

AP English 11:

  • A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier
  • The Last Lecture
  • The Great Gatsby

AP English 12:

  • Invisible Man
  • Wuthering Heights
  • Heart of Darkness

AP US History:

  • Lies My Teacher Told Me

AP European History:

  • After the Black Death

AP US Government:

  • A More Perfect Constitution

Fortunately these assignments won’t appear out of nowhere. Your teachers should have given you plenty of advanced notice so you can get started early in the summer. But they key is just that: get started early in the summer. When you have upwards of three books to read in three months, procrastination won’t lead to success.

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Related Tools and Checklists

High School Junior Timeline and Checklist
High School Senior Timeline and Checklist

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