Updated: Feb 20, 2019
We’ve all been there: the lazy summer hours; the beachfront strolls; the sweet, sweet feeling of having no tests to study for; no deadlines to meet; no alarm clocks set to shriek at ungodly hours.
Welcome to summer vacation. Some years it can pass in a flash, and other years the days can drag on and on with no end in sight. But in the grand scheme of the academic year, three months really does amount to a short window of time. Between relaxation and leisure, there’s barely enough time or motivation to scrape the surface of all the preparation needed to assemble a formidable college application. So how do you make the most of this stretch of summer heading into this year’s admissions season? Here are some of our professional suggestions.
1. Summer internships
Companies and non-profits everywhere depend on summer interns as much as summer interns depend on them. Use resources such as internships.com to search for opportunities that match your interests (for example, if you’re interested in studying law, keep your eyes open for law firm postings). Alternatively, you should always feel free to contact local companies and organizations to see if they could use an extra hand on deck.
2. Part-time jobs
There’s nothing shameful about working a part-time minimum wage job. Colleges value students who have demonstrated a history of hard and dedicated work, especially if that work requires you to exercise your communication, organization, and teamwork skills. Never underestimate the power of a fry cook gig!
Spending a weekend picking up trash off the highway might not seem all that glamorous or impressive, but making it a thing that you do on the regular shows spirit and commitment. Other causes you should consider volunteering for include animal shelters, hospitals, libraries, marathon organizers, and more!
4. Classes and workshops
Get in touch with some of your former high school teachers about where to find supplemental seminars in academic topics that have engaged and interested you. Instructors are often an overlooked resource, but if anyone can point you to the right university or educational service devoted to growing young talent, there’s no one better to ask.
5. College research
Applying to college takes weeks, and in several cases, months, of preparation. Use this free time to build a preliminary list of colleges that attract you. From there, start doing research on what differentiates each college from the rest. The more you know about a particular school, the more you’ll be able to assess whether you and the school would be a good fit for each other.
This article was written by Thomas Jin, an Educational Consultant in the New York Office