Use Your Summer

Summer is a great time to catch up on course work, intern, work, volunteer, or participate in activities that build your skills. There are many details to take care of the summer before you start college. If you are in college, use your summers to earn money, gain work experience or get ahead on your college credits.

Before You Apply to College 

Colleges want to see that you use your summers well. NYC is full of summer options to help you prepare for higher education. You can get a job, explore your interests, volunteer, take a College NOW course, prepare for the SAT, start your applications or check out a few college campuses. Learn More

Before You Enroll in College 

Before school starts, you will have a long to-do list. You may need to pay fees and submit updated transcripts, immunization records, and housing forms. Make sure you know about any required placement tests and how and when to register for classes. Find out if you are eligible for any special summer programs at your school. A summer job can help you save up to buy books and other college necessities. Learn More

In College 

While you are in college, you can use your summers to get coursework out of the way, gain important work experience, and earn money. Learn More


  • What’s the best thing to do with my summer?

    Colleges want you to be active in the summer. Whether you take a course, get a job, do an internship or participate in a community program – colleges want to see that you’re doing something. In the eyes of a college admissions office, any of these activities is valuable. Colleges want to see that you are motivated to use your free time in a productive way, so it’s just important that you do something.

  • How can I find classes to take over the summer?

    If you attend a NYC Department of Education high school, College NOW has a lot of wonderful course offerings in the summer. College NOW courses are offered free to NYC public high school students and allow students to earn college credits. You can find a listing of their courses at

    For those not able to participate in College NOW, there are still a lot of courses that are available to you. Many colleges offer programs for high school students during the summer.  Check each college’s website to see program focus, dates and cost. Financial aid may be available. In addition, there are some excellent online courses from top universities that are available for free. Check out Coursera.

  • Where can I find a summer job?

    If you live in NYC and are between the ages of 14 – 24, the Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP) can be a great resource for summer jobs. During the summer of 2012, 30,000 youth were placed in summer jobs through SYEP. To apply, you need to fill out an online application (available in April). More information can be found here.

    If you are under the age of 18, you need working papers to work. If you are still in high school, your school can give them to you. If you are out of high school, you can call 311 to find the closest school to your location to receive your working papers.

  • I like having summers off, does it really matter that much if I just hang out?

    Colleges really like to see students involved in something over their summers, especially the summer before their senior year of high school. Search to find an activity, program or job that will keep you occupied, but also give you time to hang out. It will be worth it to have an additional thing to put on your college applications!

  • I work during the summer, is that something that I can include on a college application?

    Absolutely! Colleges want to know what you’re involved with, and a job is a serious commitment. You should include your job in your resume and also on the activities part of your applications.

  • How can I find summer programs to participate in?

    If you are in high school, check with your school counselor about any programs s/he might know. If you are a NYC public high school student, strongly consider taking part in College NOW ( If you are not in high school, NYC offers many great summer opportunities. Try contacting colleges that you are interested in to see whether they have any programs. You can also search NYC College Line and Google for summer programs related to your particular interests (such as biology or dance). You can also participate in free activities at many of NYC’s museums.

  • I have to apply to college this fall. What can I be doing now to get ahead?

    Summer is a great time to get a jump start on your applications. Research! If you’re not sure what schools you’re interested in, take the college search quiz on College Board to get you started. Take this time to really get to know the schools you’re interested in. If possible, visit the campuses. Read about them on their website. Send away for their promotional material. Research the majors that interest you.Work on your essay. Study for the SAT or ACT.Begin your applications.

    After August 1st, the applications should be available online. Begin to fill them out!  Remember, it is a good idea to talk to your school counselor or other adviser about your college choices before submitting them.

  • What do I absolutely have to do in the summer before I start college?

    Check your emails or mail for upcoming dates, deadlines and events. Your school will send you important information about due dates for commitment fees and housing deposits, placement test dates, and/or summer programs (such as EOP/HEOP) and orientation. The summer before college is also a great time to explore your college and become familiar with the area.

  • What is summer immersion?

    There are two different types of summer immersion. One is a non-credit program intended for students who must complete their basic skills requirements and improve their proficiency in Reading, Writing and Mathematics.  The other is for students who want to get a head start in their college career, earn college credit and perhaps deepen their knowledge in a specific subject area.

  • Do I have to take a placement test?

    Check with your college to find out about specific testing requirements. If you are entering a CUNY school, you must take the CUNY Assessment Tests in reading, writing, and mathematics (unless you demonstrated that you meet the University's skills proficiency requirements based on SAT, ACT, or NY State Regents test scores). 

    The placement test for most schools is mandatory in order to register for classes. In general, not taking the test can mean that you cannot register for classes, or it may mean that you miss an opportunity to take part in special programs that happen during the summer.

    If any of your scores on the CUNY Assessment Tests are below the minimum level set by CUNY, you will need to take non-credit basic skills (remedial) classes in that area. It is strongly recommended you prepare for the placement tests before you take them. Some practice questions and other information can be seen here

  • I can’t afford my deposit. What should I do?

    Check with your college to see if you qualify for a waiver. Talk to your school counselor or other adviser to see if any other resources might be available to you.

  • Do I have to attend orientation?

    Yes, attend orientation. This is often mandatory, and allows you to get to know your campus and register for classes.

  • I’m living on campus. What do I need to bring?

    Most colleges provide a suggested packing list. See if one is available for your school. It might have some hints and tips about specific dorms as well as rules about items not allowed (for example, candles and incense are banned in nearly all dorm rooms). Here is a sample list from SUNY Albany. 

    Stick to the necessities and avoid over-packing. If you’re living with roommate(s), make sure you contact them before moving day so that everyone can organize a list of items to bring with them. This will avoid duplicate items and maximize space.

  • When and how do I register for classes?

    There a multiple ways to register for classes such as during orientation with your academic adviser, online registration, or the college registrar’s office. Check your school’s academic calendar for registration dates.

  • How do I pay for books and other necessities if I haven’t gotten my refund check yet?

    Contact the financial aid office to inquire and confirm that you will be receiving a book stipend. If you will not be receiving a stipend or if you need your books before you get it, you can save money by renting books, sharing books with classmates, reading books in the library, or copying selections from books you borrow until you can buy your own. If none of these are an option, talk to your professor or academic adviser. Take action: don’t fall behind because you can’t afford your books.

  • What is a certificate of residence, and do I need one?

    It is an official New York State document that says that you are a resident. Yes, you need it to guarantee that you will be charged in-state tuition and fees, which are much less than those charged to out-of-state students.

  • How do I complete a Master Promissory Note (MPN)?

    Log into and sign in. First, you must complete the entrance counseling and submit it. The next step is to complete the Master Promissory Note (MPN). Click on MPN link and fill in your information including two references. Type your name and date and submit. Be sure to print a copy for your records.

  • Will financial aid pay for my summer classes?

    Yes, in some cases. Usually any financial aid you have left over from the previous fall and spring semesters can be applied toward summer courses. Check with your college’s Financial Aid Office to learn more. In New York State, there are some requirements that you must meet in order for TAP to cover your classes; check out this link   ( with the specific information.

  • Is it worth it to have an unpaid summer opportunity/internship?

    Internships are about more than money. You also gain valuable work experience, skills, and knowledge and make professional connections. Of course a paid internship is more immediately desirable, but future rewards may outweigh immediate ones. Acquiring skills, developing a solid work background and establishing a strong professional network will pay in the long run.

  • Can I stay on campus during the summer?

    You usually can stay on campus during the summer if you are taking summer courses or working on campus. However, you may have to live in a different room or residential hall.  Colleges may allow you to stay on campus based on other personal circumstances as well. Check with your resident life office.

  • I just got my new financial aid package letter – what do I do with it?

    The letter should clearly list the total cost of attendance at the college and the total amount of financial aid you are eligible to receive. This information will let you know how much you would need to pay out of pocket or take out in loan money to attend the college. It may be different from your package the prior year, so it is crucial to look at it carefully. If you have trouble understanding your renewal package, contact the college’s financial aid office. It may help to review your letter with a professional college adviser.

  • Where can I find a summer job? A summer internship? A summer program?

    First, check to see if your college has an office of internships or a career services office. They may help you find summer opportunities on or off campus. There are SUNY Educational Opportunity Centers (EOCs) in each NYC borough that can help you find programs, jobs, and internships. NYC’s Workforce 1 and Summer Youth Employment Program can help students find jobs as well.

  • I’m at a CUNY school; can I take classes at a different CUNY school over the summer?

    Yes, but you must get permission from both schools first. Start by finding the course you want and which colleges offer it. There may be specific requirements around which classes you can take outside of your college.

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