After a full year of academic challenges, SAT and AP examination preparation, and extracurriculars, the most glorious time of year rolls around: Summer. A time to breathe, enjoy the Santa Cruz boardwalk, and catch up on the sleep you missed out on during the academic year. However, for high school freshmen, sophomores, and juniors, the summer is a time to delve into particular interests and build a profile for college admissions. In fact, if you aren’t doing two of these three things: learning, trying, and/or serving something, then you aren’t maximizing your free time.
What does it look like to learn something? For every interest, there is some sort of summer program, college courses, or free online course to explore that interest further. Many popular summer programs like COSMOS or programs at Stanford, can boost a student’s profile and help that student determine if this is something they want to major in. Many UCs offer college courses for high schoolers both online or on campus. It doesn’t matter if you do on campus or not, because the course code is the same, so Admissions Officers won’t be able to tell if you were on their campus or not, and most will assume you were, which looks great. Finally, check out resources such as Coursera and EdX to find free online courses taught by elite universities to explore interests more. Whatever you choose to do to learn this summer, make it fun and worthwhile.
Next, what would be something you should try this summer? To answer this question, you should ask yourself, “What’s something I’ve never done, that I would like to try?” Maybe that’s trying a new sport, learning how to play piano or even something crazy like skydiving. Do something this summer that makes you step outside of your comfort zone and think outside of the box.
How can you find opportunities to service something? Think of some social issues you may be passionate about (world hunger, the refugee crisis, food waste, etc.), and put passion into action. Great websites to help you find volunteer work include VolunteerMatch and Idealist. Once you’ve found an organization and issue you are passionate about, there are so many ways that you can take that passion and drive and run with it to better your overall profile.
All in all, whatever you do this summer, it shouldn’t feel like a chore. It should be something that challenges you and ignites your true passions. Do you need guided advice on what to do based on your interests and intended major? Feel free to reach out to ReadyEdgeGo for an initial consultation.