Summer! A time to relax? Perhaps, but not a time to let down your guard if you’re planning to apply to college within the next two or three years! While summer is a special time away from the pressures of the school year, and a time to have fun, it’s also an opportunity to enrich your life, and enhance your chances for college admission by doing something productive. And, yes, you can accomplish all three of them at the same time! You may say, OK, but summer is at least four months away and I’ve got plenty of time to plan. Wrong! Now is the time to research and apply to summer programs!
There are myriad ways to enrich your summer. Here are just a few ideas:
- Study and live on a college campus for a week or two or three – or more
- Become involved in a local or global community service project
- Get a job or an internship that may foreshadow your choice of college major
- Participate in a foreign-language/cross-cultural immersion program
- Hone your debate skills in a specialized workshop
- Improve your athletic prowess at a showcase camp
- Assist in a lab-based research project
- Take courses locally to improve your GPA, rank, curriculum
- Help out on a medical mission trip in a Third World country
- Create or add to your art portfolio for college admission
Some summer programs are highly competitive, like MIT’s Research Science Institute for six rigorous weeks of advanced math, science, and engineering; or Bank of America’s Student Leaders Program which awards paid internships in non-profit organizations; or Florida’s own Scripp’s High School Student Summer Internship Program which provides hands-on biomedical research opportunities; or Wharton’s Leadership in the Business World for an introduction to a top-notch undergraduate business program for a select group of high school students. Other programs offer opportunities to almost any college-bound student who applies, such as Summer Discovery, with its enrichment and academic offerings on about a dozen college campuses and internships in five major metropolitan areas around the globe. Many of our nation’s top universities offer unique summer programs just for high-school students: you can take a college-level course for credit or an enrichment course for the pure enjoyment of learning – and complement your academics with a rich assortment of extracurricular activities. If you’ve got a younger sibling who wants to start early, check out Explo at Wellesley or Wheaton College.
There are programs in almost every discipline you can imagine: visual and performing arts, sports journalism, aerospace engineering, fashion design, film-making, creative writing, graphic design, social justice, career exploration, business, chemistry, sports management, Arabic, biology, government, law, medicine, math, public speaking, global studies… and the list goes on! Whatever you’d like to learn about, there’s probably a program for it – all you have to do is Google what you’re looking for. Simply by Googling “summer pre-college program,” I found all these:
And, of course, you can always call me for my ideas! Remember, the colleges to which you apply will be looking at the quality of your summer choices throughout high school – and how they support your goals for both college and life.
You can spend your summers “wise-ly” and have fun, too!