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Score at the Top Blog

How to Enrich Your Summer and Improve Your Chances for College Admission

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Seriously…Are You Serious About Getting into a Competitive College? Here’s a Summer Tip.

Right out of an old family sitcom, we recall dad’s summer advice to his offspring: “Do something constructive!” That’s our tip to you, too, and here’s some background:

Many universities search among their thousands of applicants for those kids who demonstrate a flair in some way, who have stretched their minds a bit more than usual in preparation for the big time of self-directed life and learning at the undergraduate level. Broadened experience often goes hand in hand with self-assurance, stability, and curiosity—traits in an applicant that are very much appreciated by admissions. So, what can you do during the summer that encompasses these qualities – and, thus, improves your chances for college admission?

Here are several options to consider, none of which have to fill an entire school vacation. The first, and possibly easiest to schedule, comes under the broad heading of enrichment. Local, national and international programs provide short-, medium-, and long-duration sessions of every imaginable kind. Enriching your mind may be linked to enriching your body: hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, Outward Bound on Penobscot Bay in Maine, weekender excursions into the headwaters of the Everglades, study on a college campus, touring with a string quartet, SAT prep, Habitat for Humanity. The list is virtually endless. And some choices may actually accrue college credits!

You could probably guess the next constructive thing to do this summer: find a job or secure an internship. If you’re really lucky, you may get both wrapped into one opportunity! Interested in large-animal veterinary medicine? Start asking around now for your summer chance. Mechanics? Then how about the county motor pool garage? Medical research? Scripps, Shands, Wellington Regional.

You’ll never know about a chance until you ask. Who’s your primary care physician? She may have leads.

Not every summer position may be linked to a future academic pursuit. But making some money to support yourself now and in the future is certainly a sign of commitment to your life. One additional thought here: sometimes the most successful go-getters actually create within an organization positions for themselves that never existed until suggested by the applicant! Welcome to the land of imaginative thinking.

With only so many jobs and internships to around, many students find themselves volunteering for a host of organizations that really need some mental or physical muscle. By working for such an organization for the summer, you’ll be accumulating a tremendous amount of good will with an admissions office. Colleges really admire teens who, as Rotary International (an international service organization) explains in its motto, think about “Service Above Self.” These opportunities abound at every imaginable distance from your doorstep—just miles away, or continents away from your home. You can find some great local outreach opportunities at www.volunteens.com, a website created several years ago by two high school students from Boca Raton.

Last but not least, academic work. This entails web-based and classroom courses that expand your horizons. As an accredited school, Score At The Top can provide you with summer coursework in virtually any academic subject (regular, Honors, or AP). You’ll be adding to your high school transcript, and hopefully bulking up that GPA in the same way that you would if you were to enroll in a course of the college-level, dual-enrollment variety. The beauty behind this sort of work is that you can pick and choose. Whether it’s a local state of community college or university, or a campus many states away from home, the course possibilities are endless—and often pretty exciting, because more and more universities want to attract high school students to their campuses with alluring summer course offerings. The feedback that we’ve gotten from students whom we advise about these special summer study courses has always been outstanding.

In any case, don’t wait! Get out a piece of scratch paper and start brainstorming now about what you’d like to see yourself doing this summer. Or call us for some great ideas! Your summer experience will surely be a win-win.