How high schoolers can use summer to boost their college application appeal

Summer is an excellent opportunity for high schoolers to enhance their college application appeal. While it may be tempting to spend the entire break relaxing, utilizing this time effectively can make a significant difference in the college admission process. Here are several ways students can leverage summer to stand out.

1. Pursue Academic Enrichment

Taking summer courses, either online or at local community colleges, can demonstrate a student’s commitment to learning. Advanced Placement (AP) classes or college-level courses show a willingness to challenge oneself and can also earn college credits. Additionally, participating in academic camps or workshops in areas of interest showcases dedication and curiosity.

2. Gain Work Experience

Internships, part-time jobs, or volunteer work are invaluable experiences that can bolster a college application. These roles develop essential skills such as teamwork, responsibility, and time management. Moreover, internships in fields related to potential college majors can provide practical insights and strengthen a student’s resume.

3. Engage in Extracurricular Activities

Summer is a perfect time to deepen involvement in extracurricular activities or to explore new interests. Whether it’s participating in sports, joining clubs, or engaging in arts and music, these activities highlight a well-rounded personality. Leadership roles within these activities are particularly impressive to college admissions committees.

4. Conduct Independent Projects

Undertaking independent projects, such as research, writing a novel, or creating a portfolio, can be a unique way to showcase passions and skills. These projects demonstrate initiative, creativity, and the ability to work independently—all qualities that colleges value.

5. Prepare for Standardized Tests

Summer offers uninterrupted time to prepare for standardized tests like the SAT or ACT. Focused study sessions, practice tests, and tutoring can significantly improve scores, which are a critical component of college applications.

6. Visit Colleges and Attend Information Sessions

If possible, visiting colleges and attending virtual or in-person information sessions can provide a clearer picture of what different institutions offer. These visits also demonstrate genuine interest in the colleges to which students are applying, which can be a positive factor in the admissions process.

In conclusion, high schoolers who strategically use their summer break to pursue academic, professional, and personal growth can significantly enhance their college application appeal. By demonstrating initiative, commitment, and a well-rounded character, students can make a memorable impression on college admissions committees.