Posted by: W. E. Poplaski | May 31, 2008

Freshman Action Plan: Summer

Summer is a great opportunity to get yourself in shape for the coming academic year.  Use it wisely, because freshman year can be treacherous. It is not difficult to find freshmen who were ‘blissfully ignorant’ about their circumstances and finished the year with a low GPA.   So be forewarned!


Follow this action plan to put yourself in a great position for doing well in September and beyond.


  1. Start an independent reading program.  Set aside at least 30 minutes each and every day to read.  However, choose your books wisely—read the most challenging material you can that is still appropriate for your reading ability.  And, yes, it is okay (and even encouraged!) to read books that you enjoy.
  2. Use online skill-building websites daily. will build your vocabulary skills; is a great number puzzle website; has a variety of word puzzles.  Dedicate at least 30-minutes daily to online skill building.
  3. Brush up on math skills with a PSAT study guide (for example: Acing the New SAT I Math by Greenhall Publishing). It not only will prepare you for an exam you will take during your sophomore year, but also will prevent your math skills from getting rusty over the summer.  Plan on 30 minutes daily.


These three steps will give you a head start on your freshman year, but you do not have to dedicate one 90minute block of time to them.  You can split it up into three 30 minute segments.  For example, 30 minutes of online skills-building in the morning; 30 minutes of math work in the afternoon and 30 minutes of reading in the evening.



Start your summer reading with these books:


Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story, by Ben Carson and Cecil Murphey

Hiroshima, by John Hersey

Narrative of My Captivity Among the Sioux Indians, by Fanny Kelly (available online for free)

The Outsiders, by S.E. Hinton

The Prisoner of Zenda, by Anthony Hope











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