7 Summer Activities to Boost College Applications

Your summer vacation is the perfect time for college prep and to explore potential careers. All summers in high school are important, especially the summers after sophomore and junior year. Check out these ideas for summer activities that will make admissions officers take notice.

1. Start your SAT or ACT test prep. Summer is a great time to explore the ACT vs SAT , practice for the PSAT , or ramp up your study schedule. Pick up a prep book, take an online prep course , or find a test prep tutor to help you manage your time. Test prep keeps your brain active so you’re in tiptop shape to head back to school in the fall.

2. Take a free online class. Sites like edX and Coursera offer free college courses that are taped or streamed from universities. With tons of subjects from robotics to American poetry, you get to participate in real-time or watch past lectures from professors at places like Stanford and Harvard.

3. Participate in a summer high school program. Specialized summer programs are held on college campuses all over the country. At MIT Launch, students start real companies. Students at UCLA’s Mock Trial Summer Institute train in public speaking and learn how attorneys prepare a case for trial. And the National Student Leadership Conference offers programs on campuses like Harvard Medical School and Georgia Tech, where students explore a future career, develop leadership skills, and get a taste of college life.

4. Take a college class. Many colleges offer summer programs where high school students come to campus to take courses and live in the dorms. Taught by real college professors, these classes are extremely competitive for high school students and require an application (with letters of recommendation). Start looking now!

5. Volunteer in your community. Colleges would rather see continuity and commitment to a community service activity instead of a bunch of one-offs. Start now, and volunteer two hours a week through your senior year. For example, you could visit residents at nursing homes a few days a week. Or, spend your Saturday mornings feeding animals at the animal shelter.

6. Get a job. Colleges are impressed when students have jobs, whether they are working for family income or just for fun. Your work history demonstrates your initiative and responsibility. Take note: you may need a work permit, depending on your age. As summer activities go, this one is pretty great because you’ll also be earning some money!

7. Apply for internships. An internship is a structured opportunity to work (usually unpaid) at a company, lab, or non-profit organization for a set amount of time. These can be very competitive for high school students, but opportunities are out there!

Allison Green
Boston Tutoring Services

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