I know what you're thinking - School just let out a few weeks ago, can't I just enjoy some time off? Unfortunately, the answer is "No"!
We all know the phrase; the early bird catches the worm and that is also the case for College Admissions. While some schools have deadlines as late as March 1st, many times the earlier you apply, the better your chances of admission. It comes down to "Early Action" and "Early Decision".
Early Action is the opportunity to apply to a school with an earlier deadline than their regular deadline, without you having to commit to that school if accepted (non-binding). This is advantageous to the student because 1) if s/he is a well-qualified candidate, it gives him/her an early safety net (most notifications are sent by mid-December). 2) Students who may need a little help getting into the school, often may get a push with early decision because the college knows that it is high on the applicants list. 3) Many university scholarships are awarded through the applications that are received early so to be considered, your application must be there by XX date (usually sometime in November or December).
Why is this good for the parent? Contrary to what our kids think, no one enjoys nagging their children. The earlier they start their applications, the sooner they'll be completed (in theory). If your student just does one thing a day for college prep, they will be done in August and then when senior years hits s/he can sit back and watch their classmates scurry around like mice.
Now what is Early Decision? ED is a BINDING agreement that if accepted, you will attend that university. Normally, there is a spot for not only the applicant to make this promise, but also for the guidance counselor assuring no other applications or transcripts will be sent. If you know in your heart of hearts this is the place for you, then go for it. Many competitive schools and/or majors have almost double the acceptance rate from ED applications than the traditional timeline.
So, retreat into the air conditioning, away from this oppressive heat wave and hit those applications. You'll be glad you did!