6 Ways to Make the Most of Your Summer and Impress Colleges


Colleges pay attention to how you spend your summer vacation because it reveals a lot about your character, motivation, and desire to learn and grow. While prestigious summer programs and international travel may seem like the obvious choices to bolster your college application, they often involve extensive planning, a competitive admissions process, and significant financial resources.

The good news is that there are numerous other activities you can pursue that demonstrate your curiosity, motivation, and intelligence – and many of them don’t cost anything except your time and effort. Here are eight activities that can make you a stronger college applicant:

Get a Job – Any Job

Working during the summer, and even throughout high school, showcases a range of positive qualities that colleges value, including leadership, organization, maturity, responsibility, and collaboration. Your job doesn’t have to be extraordinary or directly related to your desired career. According to Harvard University’s admissions blog, what matters most is your willingness to work hard in any context. Plus, earning money for college is never a bad idea.

Take an Online Class


Colleges appreciate students who go beyond their high school curriculum, which is why engaging in focused learning over the summer can be advantageous. Consider enrolling in college-level courses online from a community or four-year college.

For instance, UC Berkeley offers virtual summer courses for high school students. Additionally, online learning platforms like edX and Coursera provide access to classes from various universities, many of which are available at little to no cost. In fact, Harvard’s CS50 Computer Science Courses are just one example of the extensive offerings in these platforms.

Create Your Own Project


Developing a project aligned with your personal passion or future career can capture the attention of admission officers. Some ideas include starting a blog, video series, or podcast about your favorite academic subject, writing and publishing a short story or article, organizing a fundraising event for a local charity, starting a business or nonprofit organization that addresses community needs, forming a band or performing arts group, leading a clean-up team to improve your surroundings, volunteering for a political campaign or meaningful nonprofit, or completing an independent research project.

Job Shadow


Job shadowing provides an opportunity to learn about different professions by observing employees performing their duties. For example, if you aspire to become a veterinarian, spend some time shadowing a veterinarian in their office. Informational interviewing is another way to explore careers of interest, where you engage in an informal conversation with professionals in your desired field to gain insight into career paths and educational requirements. Both job shadowing and informational interviews can provide inspiration and unique experiences to write about in your college applications.

Read and Self-Study


Demonstrate your passion for learning by independently pursuing a subject of interest. Teach yourself a new language, dive into the works of a favorite author, or explore a field like finance by learning about investing and reading books by industry leaders. You can also use online resources like Khan Academy, the Princeton Review, or Kaplan to prepare for upcoming AP coursework or brush up on math and science foundations for the next school year.

Prep for the SAT or ACT


Even though some colleges have adopted test-optional policies, strong SAT or ACT scores can still enhance your application. If you plan to take or retake these exams, summer is an ideal time to prepare. Explore options like test-prep courses, individual tutoring, or self-guided study using books and free online resources.

Remember to Recharge

While it’s crucial to make the most of your summer and enhance your college resume, it’s equally important to rest, spend time with loved ones, and have fun. Choose summer activities wisely, focusing on quality rather than quantity. Ultimately, enjoy your summer while embarking on valuable pursuits that showcase your commitment to personal and intellectual growth.

Patrick Adams

Patrick Adams is a seasoned content writer with a passion for crafting compelling narratives that captivate audiences. With a knack for turning complex ideas into easily digestible content, Patrick has established himself as a go-to writer in the digital landscape.

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