Choosing Summer Programs and Activities

Summer Programs and Activities? An Opportunity Too Good to Miss

Summertime may still feel like an eternity away – but don’t let that stop you from starting to plan and think about how you can utilize the upcoming summer months to set yourself apart from other students in today’s competitive college admissions market. Colleges aren’t just looking at your GPA or SAT scores anymore – they’re looking for students with motivation and demonstrated interest and experience in the subjects and activities they’re passionate about. Even more, the right summer involvement improves your college admission opportunities.

Need some ideas? Check with CPSi about which options are right for you. Here are just a few examples of the categories their specific recommendations for you may fall into:

1) Volunteering

This is an easy and productive way to gain experience in a field that interests you. Since there are so many volunteering opportunities to choose from (usually with little or no “competition” or application process), find one that correlates most closely with one of your primary interests and then stick with it throughout the summer. Nothing shows an admissions office your passion for a given subject area or activity like committing and donating your own time.

2) Summer Programs

Many local colleges and organizations offer high school juniors and seniors the opportunity to attend pre-college summer programs. These types of programs can run from 1 week to 2 months, depending on the intensity of the curriculum. Again, try to look for program subjects that will add to your knowledge and experience in one of your primary interests. If you’re unsure what to look for or where to start, it’s never a bad idea to get some ideas by simply scrolling through the summer programs being offered by the colleges at the top of your preliminary best-fit colleges list.

3) Working

This one may seem obvious, but obtaining a full or part-time summer job (especially if you can secure something related to one of your primary interests) will impress admissions with your work ethic, and is also a great way to save up some much needed cash for impending college expenses. It may seem early, but start researching and applying for positions now – the best summer jobs tend to go very quickly. This goes for summer internships opportunities too. An alternative employment option, that can often show even more initiative to colleges, is to start your own business. Don’t worry about starting out simple – even small painting projects or babysitting will demonstrate resourcefulness to potential schools.

4) Maintaining Your Online Presence

Don’t get too excited here – we’re not talking about spending more time on Instagram or Twitter! Rather, spend time creating a significant online presence that you can use to showcase your professional and educational interests to potential colleges. Consider crafting a blog or website relating to a subject or activity that you’re passionate about, and then post often and consistently. If you haven’t already, create a thorough LinkedIn account that shows off your biggest educational and extracurricular accomplishments, as well as any employment, intern, or volunteering experience. Since we all know that admissions officers can now easily conduct online searches of applicants they’re interested in, make sure to also give your recreational social media accounts (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.) a good look-through and clean-up to make sure that colleges are seeing the best version of yourself.

Whatever combination of activities you decide to participate in, just remember not to waste your summer by thinking of these upcoming few months as “time off.” Some rest and relaxation is definitely important in moderation, but the opportunity to use this extra time to make yourself a more hard-working, interesting, and balanced admissions candidate is just too good to pass up!

160 views Ryan Flannery