Don’t have any productive summer plans? While it might be too late for many summer programs, there are still a number of initiatives that students can do in order to have a productive summer break and stand out when it comes time to apply to college.
When evaluating applications, colleges don’t just want to see what you’re doing inside of the classroom. They want to see what you’re doing in your spare time – including during the summer break! Planning a productive summer is one way for students to continue to explore their interests and demonstrate a specialty. Summer experiences can also help students stand out when they apply to college, as long as they are meaningful.
If you still don’t have summer plans, consider trying one (or more!) of these four summer activities.
During the summer there are bound to be a number of local organizations that need help from volunteers – especially those that serve younger students who are also out on summer break. Seek out community service opportunities, whether it’s at a local church or other religious organization, the local Boys and Girls Club, a community recreation center, or some other organization. Find ways to donate your time that also align with your interests or current extracurricular activities. For example, if you’re on your school’s robotics team, see if you can volunteer at a local STEM camp for younger students. Interested in theater? See if a local drama troupe needs help with an upcoming production. It’s not hard to find a good-fit community service initiative during the summer– you just need to get creative!
Get A Summer Job
For many students, a summer job is preferable as it provides a way to make money while also keeping them busy during the break. Summer jobs provide great experience for students, as they can demonstrate responsibility and organization, and teach new skills student may not otherwise learn. Seek out summer jobs that you’ll not only enjoy, but also align with your interests and will allow you to learn something new. For example, if you’re interested in fashion or design, a retail job can help you learn about things like developing and executing plans for product displays. Want to study communications? Customer service jobs can give you the opportunity to learn about conflict resolution and how to interact with others on a professional level. Interested in teaching? A job at a local daycare or working as a summer tutor can give you direct experience working with children. Summer jobs can be meaningful experiences while also giving students the opportunity to expand their skill sets.
Take Summer Courses
Learning over the summer can take place anywhere! Taking summer courses, either at a local college or online, is a great way to continue to develop your interests over the summer, and can be done in conjunction with other summer initiatives. Check course offerings at local institutions and see if they have any classes of interest this summer. Often summer courses at colleges are accelerated, meaning they have multiple summer sessions that take place over a few weeks during the summer months, so if there aren’t any classes that interest you in the first session, see if there’s something offered in the second or third session. Also look for online courses or MOOCs, as those can be done in the comfort of your home, often on your own schedule. Summer courses are a great way to continue to develop your interests and can stand out on your college applications.
Start A Blog
Sometimes finding the perfect summer initiative means creating your own! Again, summer experiences should be meaningful and help you learn new skills or delve deeper into your interests in order to demonstrate a specialty. Starting a blog about a topic you’re passionate about is one way to stay busy over the summer while still learning about something that interests you. Blogging will help improve your writing, and can also help you learn new skills like how to work within a publishing platform, how to promote your posts, how to use social media to reach a wider audience, and more. Blogging can be done in conjunction with other summer initiatives as well.
It’s important to remember that students should do things that they enjoy over the summer break! Don’t pick a summer activity you’re not passionate about just to have something to list on your college application. The quality of the experience is important, and colleges will see through a disingenuous summer effort. Take some time to research your options and put together a plan to have a productive and fun summer. And remember to plan early next year!
Continuing your college prep over the summer is another way to stay busy and have a productive break. One way to prep for college over the summer break is to come up with a comprehensive college prep plan that can help carry you through the next school year and beyond. The IvyWise Initial Consultation is your first step on the path to a successful college admissions process and can provide you with a college prep plan for the remainder of your high school career. Learn more about the Initial Consultation here contact us today to get started!