Five Summer Tasks to Boost College Chances

Summer break is almost here! While this is your time to enjoy some fun in the sun, this is also an excellent time to get a better idea of what you want to focus on in college and your future career. Check out these transcript-building ideas for how to spend your summer break.
Crystal Nikish's avatar by Crystal Nikish, PrepMe Student Advisor. She graduated from Penn State with a degree in English and a minor in Education Theory and Policy. Her favorite food is chocolate.

Sure, summer break is months away, but for high school Juniors, it’s important to start thinking about it now. Between studying for the SAT or ACT this Spring and filling out college applications in the Fall, this summer will be the last chance to put something spectacular and memorable on your college application to set you apart from the crowd. The summer break is also an excellent time to get a better idea of what you want to focus on in college and your future career.  Here are some options to help you get an idea of what you can do with your summer break:

Enroll in an enrichment program

There are tons of programs out there for every field and interest, but the problem is sometimes in finding them or paying for them. Ask your school counselor about local programs, and check local college and universities’ websites for sports camps or academic courses. Maybe even take an MOOC (massive open online course) for free!

Apply for an internship

The best way to decide if you’ll like a future career is to jump right in and take it for a test drive now! The experience you’ll gain, not to mention the contacts and resume content, is invaluable. If you can’t find any openings, try contacting local companies where you would be interested in working and ask if they would let you shadow one of their employees on the job.

Volunteer in your field of study

Volunteering is especially important if you want to work in the social services industry, but can it also be valuable to almost any type of career. Interested in marketing? Volunteer to help create a newsletter for your local SPCA group. Law enforcement? Try the neighborhood watch. The key is to be creative, but not too creative. Make sure the organizations you volunteer with are still relevant to your future college major or field of study.

Tour all of your prospective colleges

This is a no-brainer. If you’re interested in attending a bunch of different schools, take some time to visit as many as you can and try to narrow down your list. Talk with any students or teachers that are still on campus, and see what the surrounding town is like. Make sure to come back in the fall when school is in session before you make your final decision, though.

Create something unique

We’ll call this one “independent study.” Maybe your family is going on a vacation this summer. Film a documentary or write about your experiences in a blog or journal. Try starting a small business like selling crafts on or create a lesson plan for the high school English class you hope to teach one day. The key is to take your passion and make something tangible that you can show to the college admissions office so that they are impressed and remember you. Take photographs of anything that can’t attach to a college application, either online or in print.

Whatever you do, make sure to put your summer break to good use. It’s the last good chance you’ll get to help you get into your dream college, so come up with a plan soon!




filed under College Planning, College Applications, High School Life
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