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I know you don’t want to start thinking about it, but the better prepared you are for the next school year, the better and more easily you’ll pass your classes, get your degree or certificate, and start your dream career. Pickens Technical College offers challenging courses designed to train you for the next step in your life and prepare you for a job you love. If you start preparing now, by the time school starts up again in the fall, you’ll be ahead of your classmates and ready to perform.

What can you do to prepare? Here are five tips to help you begin the process:

1. Go Over Last Year’s Material

None of these tips are going to be particularly fun right after the school year, but remember that you’re not in high school anymore, and all the training and learning you’re doing at PTC goes directly toward your position in the career of your choice. Probably the most tedious task over the summer, however, is going over the material you already learned.

It might be difficult to re-do the hands-on work your PTC instructor had you do during the year, but, even if you can’t access a place to practice, you can still go over your notes and readings. You don’t have to memorize the teachings from the previous year, but even a few quick glances at the material can help you remember those key points for next semester.

2. Peek at Next Year’s Material

Some professors will lay out a plan for their classes and the progression their students need to complete to move up and on. See if you can ‘peek’ at next semester’s syllabus or curriculum. Some professors are a bit more secretive, but if you can get ahold of them via email, they might be willing to at least give you a preview of the material coming in the next step.

3. Keep Your Brain Sharp

You probably know this from high school summers, but if you let your brain slip into a lazy routine, it will be in for a rude awakening in the fall. Read, try to apply the things you learned to your ‘real life, and impose some kind of discipline to these endless summer days to stay sharp and ready for the next semester.

4. Keep in Touch With Your Peers and Mentors

Some teachers go on vacation or do other things during the school year. Many PTC teachers have other jobs or responsibilities. Take advantage of any mentor or teacher who is still in touch with you during the summer. Pick their brain. Ask them questions about the next step.

It’s important to keep in touch with your classmates as much as possible, too. The people sitting next to you in class could be the foundation of a useful professional network in the future.

5. Start Looking for Internships or Jobs

You may not be qualified for jobs in your industry without your certificate or diploma, but the sooner you can start looking at the opportunities out there for people in your industry, the better prepared you’ll be when you need to use your credentials to land that first entry-level job.