Summer Vacations and College Admissions
Learn about some ideas for how to spend your summers in fun (and productive) ways to help your college application profile.
For high school students, summer vacation is an opportunity to take time off from the rigors of schoolwork. However, adding a summer activity to your schedule can be fun, and can also help make your resume extra impressive when it comes time to start your college applications.
Most summer activities will only require a time commitment of a few hours each week. Participating in one or more does not mean you are foregoing a summer of fun with your friends – you’ll have plenty of free time to relax, while also maybe finding a new hobby or sport that you love.
It goes without saying that summer school, a job and internships are great activities for high school students. This article will focus on several alternative activities that are fun and will boost your college application profile.
Most colleges offer summer programs for high school students. These are a great alternative to summer school because they offer a similar education in a more interactive and entertaining environment. For example, UCLA offers a marine biology program in which students take visits to coastal environments to see, firsthand, what they’ve been learning in the classroom.
Clubs and Hobbies
Choose a hobby or activity you like to play in the summer and start a club. If you’re an avid skateboarder, gather other local skateboarders and meet once per week. Post flyers, make a Facebook page, and talk to other students towards the end of the school year. This shows great leadership skills to college admissions boards, and you’ll be improving your college resume doing something you would have been doing anyway.
Many national organizations offer summer programs in which you get to work in an industry-related field. For example, NASA has a High School Apprenticeship Research Program where you’ll live on a college campus working on space and science research.
If you are a member of a sports team at your high school, find out if it has a summer program. By joining, you’ll not only improve your skills for next season, but you’ll have an additional activity to put on your college application - showing your dedication to the sport. If your team doesn’t have a summer program, organize one! It’s a great chance to practice leadership.
Your high school may have a summer recommended reading list. Picking up a few of the titles will help prepare you for the upcoming academic year and may even improve your GPA . If your school doesn’t offer a summer reading list, talk to your guidance counselor or the head of your school’s English department for a few recommended books.
A basic understanding of computers and certain software programs is important in any career path you choose post-high school. Taking a summer course to learn a specialized program, such as Adobe Photoshop, can be a fun and helpful way to learn a new skill that could benefit you later on. Taking the course pass/fail can also be a non-stressful way to focus on learning without the pressure of trying to score an A.
Summer Vacation and College Admissions: Tips and Tactics
- Do what you're interested in. There are tons of activities and opportunities out there, find one that interests you so you can get the most out of your summer.
- Leadership is always coveted. Remember that college admissions boards are always looking for students who show leadership skills. Find an activity that brings out the leader in you.
- Get involved, somehow. Make sure to do something with your summer. Whether it's reading a few books on the beach or taking a computer class at the local college, colleges and universities want to see someone who makes use of his summers.
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