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Summer is right around the corner and most families are solidifying their summer vacation plans and looking forward to a little break from the school routine. While this is all good, I also encourage students to think about building their college profile over the summer. The next few months are a perfect opportunity to take advantage of some free time and develop your leadership, academic, athletic, and social skills. The truth is, most colleges are looking for students who have participated in a variety of extracurricular activities throughout their high school career. While it can be easy to focus on just one or two areas of strength, I push my students to participate in a range of activities that will stretch them as individuals and show colleges that they are well-rounded.
So, rather than sitting at home on facebook all day this coming summer or sleeping every single day until noon, consider participating in enrichment activities that will help build your student profile and resume. Students who participate in summer enrichment programs through their high school career are more likely to increase their chance for college admission. You don't have to necessarily participate in elaborate activities, though you can if you'd like; even simple activities can be of benefit through the college admission process. Here are a few summer enrichment ideas to consider:
- Volunteer. Give your time to a local library, food bank, homeless shelter or other community organization a few times a week. The simple act of volunteering can say a lot about you as a person. By giving 5-10 hours per week, you can help local organizations better serve the community you live in. If you’re interested in volunteer work beyond your local community, there are hundreds of organizations that host high school students each summer. Joining a mission trip through your school or church is a great way to give your time, as well. Whether you participate in volunteer work in your own backyard or across the sea, it's good for you and it's good for others.
- Get an Internship. There is absolutely nothing wrong with working in a coffee shop or babysitting for a summer job, but think about taking a job or internship in an area that you're possibly interested in pursuing as a career someday. Work at a law office, a local news station, or at a doctor's office. Even if you only file papers for the summer, you're still getting great exposure to the career field and learning valuable tools for your future.
- Go to College. Yes, you read that correctly! Consider taking an online class (or two) through a community or four-year college to gain credit and possibly satisfy one of your high school or college class requirements. Many colleges offer summer class options online and most are available to high school students. Not only will taking a course expose you to a college learning environment, but it will also benefit you as you begin your freshman year on a college campus.
- Join a Summer Campus Program. There are hundreds of college campuses across the country that provide summer programs for high school students. Most programs run anywhere from two weeks to six weeks and allow students to live in supervised dorms and participate in special activities and seminars designed especially for high school students. This kind of program will give you the chance to meet students with similar interests, from various backgrounds, and from locations all over the world. As a bonus, you'll learn directly from college professors and get a good feel for what it's like to go to college.
- Travel Abroad. Do you have a desire to experience other cultures first-hand? How about traveling to another country this summer? If you travel abroad with your family be sure to take advantage of as many educational opportunities as possible. If you’re looking for a little more independence, consider joining an organization that hosts high school students for summer study abroad programs. There are many, many options out there and this is a great pre-requisite to semester study abroad options for once you are on a college campus. Very little activities are more enriching than spending time in a new or somewhat unfamiliar environment that stretches you as an individual.
- Spiff Up Your Application Components. There's no better time to begin working on those college essays or studying for the SAT/ACT than during the summer months. Consider participating in an intensive summer program to help you build your application pieces. CLC College Prep offers independent sessions for students who want a little more concentrated help in these areas. Contact us today for more info!
Regardless of the activities you choose to participate in over the summer, remember to take some time for yourself. Relax and recuperate; you deserve some down-time! Whether you take a class, participate with a trip, volunteer, or do something else meaningful, remember that the most important thing is that you do something! We have lots of resources and information we'd love to give you. Contact us today for individualized help on making a summer enrichment program a reality for you this summer.