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10 Summer Activities to Supercharge Your College Application


Summer vacation is a great opportunity for high school students to not only relax and have fun but also to enhance their college applications. Colleges seek well-rounded students with a passion for learning and that want to make a difference. By engaging in various summer activities, students can stand out from the crowd of applicants with similar grades and test scores. In this blog, we will explore ten exciting summer activities that can boost your college application and impress admissions officers.


1. Get an Internship

Internships provide high school students with an unparalleled opportunity to gain real-world experience in their desired field. While landing an internship can be competitive, the benefits are immense. By working alongside professionals in a professional setting, you get to apply your knowledge and skills to meaningful projects. The experience not only offers insights into your future career path but also helps build essential skills like communication, teamwork, and problem-solving. Additionally, internships showcase your commitment to learning beyond the classroom and your desire to make a positive impact in your chosen field.


When seeking internships, don't limit yourself to only well-known organizations; consider reaching out to local businesses and community organizations as well. Even if the internship is unpaid, the knowledge and exposure gained can be invaluable. Be proactive in reaching out to potential mentors or employers and highlight your passion for the industry. Securing an internship during high school can be a remarkable achievement and a powerful addition to your college application, showing colleges that you are already taking significant steps towards your future goals.


2. Get a Job

Taking on a summer job can be an excellent way to demonstrate responsibility, independence, and time management skills. Whether you are babysitting, working at a local store, or assisting in a family business, the experience gained from employment during the summer can be transformative. Juggling work responsibilities with personal commitments and academics shows colleges that you are capable of balancing multiple responsibilities effectively. Moreover, it highlights your dedication to working hard and your willingness to embrace new challenges.


When considering potential job opportunities, think beyond just earning money; consider how the job aligns with your future goals or interests. For example, if you aspire to work in the culinary industry, a summer job in a restaurant can provide valuable insights and experiences. Colleges value students who take initiative and demonstrate a strong work ethic. Your summer job experience can be a compelling addition to your college application, showcasing your commitment to growth and self-sufficiency.


3. Volunteer in Your Community

Colleges seek students who are not only academically accomplished but also dedicated to making a positive impact in their communities. Volunteering during the summer can be a powerful way to demonstrate your commitment to giving back. Engaging in community service that aligns with your passions and interests showcases your authentic desire to make a difference. Whether you're helping at a local food bank, participating in environmental clean-up initiatives, or tutoring underprivileged students, your volunteer work demonstrates your compassion, empathy, and leadership skills.


Instead of pursuing one-time volunteer opportunities, aim for continuity and long-term commitment to a cause that resonates with you. By volunteering consistently throughout high school, you show colleges that community service is not merely a checkbox on your application but an integral part of who you are. The experiences and lessons gained from volunteering can be life-changing, helping you develop a deeper understanding of social issues and fostering a sense of responsibility towards others. Embrace the opportunity to give back during your summer break and let your commitment to service shine through in your college application.


4. Cultivate a Special Skill or Passion

Summer presents an ideal opportunity to focus on cultivating a special skill or passion. Whether it's diving deeper into a musical instrument, mastering a new language, or honing your creative writing abilities, dedicating time to these pursuits demonstrates your commitment to personal growth and self-improvement. Embrace your passion and explore it further through workshops, online courses, or mentorship programs. Engaging in such activities not only brings joy but also helps you develop discipline, perseverance, and a sense of accomplishment.


For instance, if you have a flair for music, consider joining a summer music camp to receive expert guidance from professionals. Take part in workshops and performances that challenge your skills and allow you to collaborate with other like-minded musicians. Likewise, if you have a passion for writing, create a summer writing project where you craft short stories or poetry and share them with friends, family, or online writing communities. By nurturing your interests and talents, you not only enhance your college application but also gain valuable life skills that will serve you well in your academic and professional journey.


5. Engage in Research

Participating in research during the summer is a remarkable way to stand out on your college application. Whether it's in a university lab, a local research institute, or as part of a community project, engaging in research exposes you to the world of academia and scientific inquiry. Reach out to professors or local researchers to inquire about opportunities to contribute to their ongoing projects or assist with data analysis. Not only does research offer you a taste of the rigors of academic work, but it also allows you to explore areas of interest and gain practical experience that will benefit you in your future studies and career.


For example, if you have an interest in environmental science, consider working with a local conservation organization to study biodiversity in your area. Collecting data, analyzing samples, and presenting findings can be an enriching experience that demonstrates your analytical skills and passion for making a positive impact on the world. By immersing yourself in research, you exhibit curiosity, critical thinking, and the ability to tackle complex problems, all of which are qualities highly valued by colleges and universities. Whether you pursue scientific research, social research, or any other field, this summer activity will undoubtedly impress college admissions officers and enhance your academic profile.


6. Pursue Passion Projects

Summer is the perfect time to unleash your creativity and turn your interests into passion projects. Whether it's starting a blog, forming a garage band with musically-inclined friends, developing a coding project, or initiating a community service initiative, passion projects allow you to explore your deepest passions and talents. These projects not only demonstrate your initiative and creativity but also showcase your ability to take the lead and make a positive impact on your community.


Passion projects provide a unique opportunity for personal growth and skill development. As you embark on these ventures, you will learn to overcome challenges, manage time effectively, and collaborate with others to bring your vision to life. Colleges appreciate students who take the initiative to pursue their interests outside the classroom. The commitment you show to your passion projects reveals your genuine enthusiasm and dedication to self-improvement, qualities that admissions officers look for in prospective students. Moreover, sharing the results of your passion projects in your college application essay can provide a powerful narrative that sets you apart from other applicants and gives admissions officers insight into your personality and values.


7. Take College Courses

Enrolling in college courses during the summer allows you to experience the academic rigor of higher education and explore potential majors before stepping foot on campus as a full-time college student. These courses, often taught by real college professors, provide an immersive learning experience and offer you a taste of college life. Taking college courses during high school demonstrates your willingness to challenge yourself academically and your commitment to lifelong learning.


Aside from gaining valuable academic experience, summer college courses can also earn you college credits, providing you with a head start on your undergraduate education and potentially reducing future tuition costs. Additionally, excelling in these courses can bolster your college application by showcasing your intellectual curiosity and ability to thrive in a higher education setting. Admissions officers recognize the significance of these courses and appreciate students who proactively seek out opportunities to expand their knowledge and skills. Whether you choose to take classes on campus or online, summer college courses can be a transformative experience that enhances your college application and prepares you for success in the academic journey ahead.


8. Attend Summer Camps

Summer camps provide an immersive and enriching experience that goes beyond the typical classroom setting. Whether you choose a STEM-focused camp, an arts and humanities program, or a sports-oriented camp, these opportunities allow you to explore new interests and passions. Engaging in such specialized activities not only enhances your skills but also demonstrates your commitment to personal growth and learning outside of school. Colleges appreciate students who show enthusiasm for various fields and are eager to step out of their comfort zones to embrace new challenges.


Moreover, summer camps often take place on college campuses, giving you a taste of what college life is like. Living in dorms, attending lectures, and interacting with professors and other students can provide valuable insights into campus culture and academic expectations. Additionally, the connections you make at these camps might come in handy during the college application process, as you can reach out to camp instructors or counselors for recommendation letters or guidance. Attending summer camps showcases your proactive nature and eagerness to explore diverse interests, making your college application stand out from the rest.


9. Begin College Admissions Prep

The college admissions process can be overwhelming, but starting early can significantly reduce stress during your senior year. Use the summer to research potential colleges, their admission requirements, and academic programs. Plan campus visits to get a feel for the campus environment and community. Taking the time to understand each college's unique offerings will help you build a well-rounded list of target schools that align with your interests and goals.


Furthermore, use the summer to begin brainstorming and outlining your college essays. Reflect on your experiences, challenges, and personal growth, and craft compelling narratives that highlight your character and aspirations. Reach out to potential recommenders, such as teachers or mentors, and build positive relationships with them. The earlier you establish these connections, the more personalized and enthusiastic your recommendation letters will be. Lastly, consider seeking advice from college counselors or attending workshops to gain insights into the application process and to stay organized throughout the journey. By starting your college admissions prep in the summer, you can lay a strong foundation for your application and confidently tackle the process with a sense of direction and purpose.


10. Start Standardized Test Prep

If you plan to take standardized tests like the SAT or ACT, use the summer to start your preparation. Sign up for test prep courses or utilize online resources to familiarize yourself with the test format and practice sample questions. Early test preparation allows you to maximize your scores and demonstrate your dedication to academic excellence. If you want to look at the testing schedule for this year and learn about some tips to improve your standardized test scores, you can click here.


Summer is not just a break from school; it's a valuable time to grow and enhance your college application. Engaging in internships, volunteering, cultivating skills, and preparing for college admissions and standardized tests will make you a well-rounded applicant. Demonstrating initiative, passion, and a willingness to explore new opportunities will undoubtedly catch the eye of college admissions officers. So, make the most of your summer and take one step closer to your dream college!

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