In celebration of National Higher Education Day, two Hera Hub members, who both work with students and families on the college application process, are offering their tips and perspectives for rising college freshmen and rising high juniors on how to use the summer to prepare for the fall.

Sylvia Borgo, Head Consultant at DJ Educational Consulting, shares her top 5 tips for parents and/or high school seniors graduating and going to college in the fall.

Florence Lehr, Founder of Artriculate, shares her insights for rising high school juniors on how they can use the summer to reduce stress in the fall.

Of course you should have fun over the summer, learn new skills, meet new friends, have great experiences (and not just experiences for your college applications), but, if you do some or all of these things over the summer you will be in great shape in the fall.

7 Tasks You Can Do Over the Summer to Reduce Your Stress In the Fall

1. Start researching colleges and create a list. As you do your research, begin to figure out what is important to you: a big sprawling campus? an urban setting? a certain major or area of study? never having to take math, or a language again? activities on the weekends? different types of housing? Keep track of your research, google docs or google sheets work great for this.

2. Write down application deadlines on the google doc or sheet you’ve started for schools to which you will apply. I use CollegeHunch (, a very handy iPhone app that shows college statistics and deadlines. You’ll need to verify due dates for 2022 once they are posted, usually by late summer, but in most cases this info doesn’t change from year to year.

3. Open a Common Application account ( and gradually start to complete the Profile, Family, and Education sections, if you’re feeling inspired you can start the Courses & Grades and Testing sections too (though you’ll have to complete them when you get your final grades and with any additional testing you might do). This will give you a great feeling of accomplishment. Over 900 colleges nationwide use the Common Application, if colleges on your list don’t, make a note of that on your list. If you are applying to one of the nine University of California schools that use the UC Application ( start that as well.

4. Start listing ALL your activities during high school outside of your academics, including jobs, you’ll need these to complete your Activities section. Your parents will be a great resource for this list. Write these in a google doc which you can copy from once you have them organized and fully described. Some tips for your Activities section are in this blog (

5. Brainstorm the personal prompts in the Writing section of both the Common Application and the UC Application, copy them into a doc or your phone Notes app and just start adding your thoughts to each question. Some students get big white sticky notes and put them on the wall and write ideas as they occur to them. Whatever method works for you is what you should do. It will become apparent which prompt resonates best with you. We wrote about brainstorming your personal statement here (

6. Start researching financial aid requirements and external scholarships, some schools have early deadlines to qualify for scholarships, some may also have additional essays. Make note of these on your college list and calendar the deadlines as well.

7. Creative students start researching portfolio and audition requirements as well as any associated due dates. These special requirements are sometimes hard to find and you may have to dig deep on admissions or department websites. Write the requirements in your doc. This will give you a good idea of what you will need to present once you start your applications. Advice for your portfolio is in this blog (

Complete these tasks over the summer and we promise that you’ll be off to a great start in the fall as your application deadlines near.

Sylvia Borgo, the owner and head counselor at DJ Educational Consulting in San Diego, is an accomplished educator with over 20 years of experience working with K-12 students. Knowledgeable teacher trained in classroom instruction, communication skills, essay writing, college counseling, educational project management, stress and time management.

Florence Lehr founded ARTriculate to help creative students apply to college. Creative students include visual artists, performing artists, filmmakers, dancers, musicians, and all others that want to be sure that their creative aspirations are satisfied by their colleges choices and are highlighted in their applications. Many of her students are interested in finding programs which combine their creative interests with STEM and humanities subjects. She guides students to research colleges and programs that are good academic, social, cultural, and financial fits. Once these colleges are identified she helps students prepare their creative materials to support the various requirements of the applications including personal statements, artists statements, portfolio and audition materials. Florence lives in Washington DC but works with students nationwide.