When the final bell rings on the last day of school, you’re probably ready to rush home and throw your bookbag in the closet until fall. As a high school student, summer is a time to relax and to take a break from studying, but if you plan to apply for college, you might want to consider using some of your summer break to boost your college application.
You don’t necessarily need to jump right into summer school, but there are some simple things you can do this summer to improve your college application. Keep reading to find out what they are.
Why Is It Important to Stay Busy Over the Summer?
Though it may be tempting to spend the whole summer sleeping in and spending time with friends, it’s important to keep one eye on your future. Your brain can definitely use a break when it comes to studying and stress, but don’t shut it down entirely for the next two months.
Staying busy and productive over the summer is important for a number of reasons. When it comes to college applications, however, it will show admissions officers that you’re serious about your education and your future. Something as simple as taking a summer school course or volunteering with a local charity shows a commitment to academic excellence and depth of character. Everything you do is an opportunity to show college admissions who you really are.
In addition to making yourself look better on a college application, staying busy over the summer is great preparation for life in and after college. Unfortunately, the real world doesn’t stop turning for two months during the summer – a full-time job is a full-time job. Keeping yourself active and engaged throughout the whole year will help you learn good habits early on.
There are plenty of ways you can stay busy over the summer without completely sacrificing your time off, and many of those things look great on college applications. Read on to see some examples!
This video offers advice on taking summer courses at college.
How to Decide How to Spend Your Summer
When it comes to choosing how to spend your summer, it’s easy to be overwhelmed by all the options. Not only do you suddenly have a wealth of free time to spend on leisure activities and activities with friends, but you have an opportunity to really take a positive step forward for your future with that time.
So, how do you decide what to do with your summer?
First, ask yourself what you see in your future. What do you want to accomplish with your life and what is it going to take to get there? Start small with the kind of college you want to attend and the requirements for admission. Take a look at your transcript and see if there are any gaps you need to fill or whether there are some areas you can improve.
From there, think about what you actually enjoy doing. If you take the time to think about it, you may find the perfect solution that allows you to do something you love that will also look great on a college application. After you’ve found the right opportunity, think about how much time you want to dedicate to it so you can make a plan for the summer.
Ways to Boost Your College Application with Summer Activities
Everything from volunteering at a local charity to getting a part-time job can boost your college application, so don’t stress too much about finding the perfect summer activity. If you’re at a loss for where to even start, here are some suggestions:
- Take a summer school course. The last thing you may want to do is spend time in a classroom during the summer, but a few hours a week is a small price to pay for something that could make a big difference on your application. Make sure it’s a subject you enjoy and it won’t even feel like work.
- Take a college class. If you want to take things up a notch, see if you can take a college-level class at a local community college or an online course. This can be a great application booster but will also help you prepare for college-level classwork.
- Get a part-time job. Having a part-time job is a great experience for a student and it can earn you little extra cash on the side. Plus, it shows college admissions officers that you’re hardworking and serious about your future.
- Participate in research. If you live anywhere close to a college or university, see if you can get a part-time job doing research in a lab. Even if the only work you can get is cleaning lab supplies, it’s still a great application booster.
- Create your own summer project. Nothing shows college admissions officers greater initiative and drive than starting and completing your own project over the summer. Whether you’re teaching yourself a new skill or starting a band with friends, it shows that you’re still committed to growth outside of school.
- Become an entrepreneur. If you’ve got a head for business, becoming an entrepreneur is a great way to spend the summer. Taking on small jobs like walking dogs or babysitting may not seem glamorous but you’ll be earning money and experience that looks good to college admissions.
- Apply for an internship. To really boost your application, consider a summer internship with a local business or non-profit organization. Most internships are unpaid, but the experience you gain is priceless.
- Volunteer in your community. Volunteering looks great on college applications and it can be a great way to learn new things. Visit residents at a nursing home, walk dogs at your local animal shelter, or work with kids at the Boys and Girls Club.
- Go to summer camp. Summer camp for high schoolers is different than what you may have done as a child, but it can be just as much fun and just as much a learning opportunity. Use summer camp to learn a new sport or skill or to improve upon one you already have.
- Travel around the country. If you simply can’t stomach the thought of more academic work, consider taking some time to travel over the summer. Traveling is a great way to experience new people and cultures and you may just learn something about yourself along the way.
The way you spend your summer can impact your college application in both direct and indirect ways. The activities above are a direct way to improve your application, but there are other things you can do to improve your grades and prepare yourself for a successful school year ahead.
This video ponders the question of whether you should take summer classes.
Other Ways to Use Your Summer Wisely
You should definitely take some time to relax over the summer, especially if you’re doing one or more of the activities from the previous list. Don’t completely forget about the school year ahead, however – the preparation you do now could impact your grades which will impact your application.
One thing you can do is get a head start on your summer reading list, so you’re fully prepared by the time fall rolls around. You could start your ACT or SAT prep work early as well, giving yourself plenty of time to practice and improve your scores.
The summer is also a great time to start making college visits.
Reading up on a college online is great, but it’s important to get a feel for the campus as well. Even if you don’t participate in a structured campus visit, it’s a good idea to at least check out the schools you’re interested in applying to. If you can, talk to an admissions rep while you’re there to get some feedback on your application and how you can improve it. It’s also a great idea to talk to some of the professors in your intended major and to chat with some students if you can.
Every high school student counts down the days until summer break. There’s nothing wrong with taking a little time to relax and unwind, but don’t spend your entire summer goofing off.
Take the extra time you have over the summer to engage in activities and experiences that will boost your college application because, after all, the college you attend will have a major impact on your future. If you’re not sure how best to use that time, consider some of the options above!
Questions? Contact us on Facebook. @communitycollegereview