• By, Mary


There are 168 hours in a week, and with approximately ten weeks off this summer, my calculator tells me you have 1,680 hours to DO SOMETHING! Surely some of you may be lucky enough to go on a family vacation, and others may decide to catch up on some lost sleep while some might even choose to plant themselves in front of the TV and play video games. What are you going to do with 1680 hours this summer?

We hope you will plan to have a productive summer with of course, some time for rest and relaxation. However, if you wish to attend college, you should understand that colleges are very interested in how productive students are during their ‘time-off.’ And it isn’t about reporting your hours of studying for the ACT or SAT; those hours don’t go on your college resume.

Think about it; take the initiative to make the most of this summer. Use your imagination and think outside the box for something you would like to learn about or accomplish. If you are too young to get a job, then volunteer with a local charity that accepts help from teenagers, take a summer class at a local community college or a free online course on coursera.org, which reflects some of your interests. If you think you want to be a Vet, start a pet-sitting business. If you're going to study business, find a person you could shadow for a few hours or intern for one-two days per week. If you want to be an artist, volunteer at the local Art Museum, teach art classes or work on a personal project during your summer break. The world is at your fingertips, use your imagination-the sky is the limit!

Below are three areas for you to consider. Perhaps these areas will pique your curiosity on how you could experience a productive and interesting summer:

1. ACADEMIC INTERESTS: Students should explore programs that involve the academic interests that you may consider for a college major and/or a career interest. Prep schools, community colleges, and colleges offer a wealth of summer programs. You may even want to take a college-level course. Use the summer to learn as much as you can about your interests: broadcasting, journalism, writing, sciences, engineering, performing arts, accounting, archeology, and psychology…the list is endless!

2. JOB, INTERNSHIP, SHADOWING OPPORTUNITIES: To obtain exposure in the area you are interested in, find a job or an internship in that field. Take note though; colleges realize that parents are often the ones who connect their children with friends to secure a significant experience; it would be better for you to research and obtain an opportunity on your own so that you can talk about that during an interview. Don’t worry if you have to work to help pay for college. Whether it is scooping ice cream, or flipping burgers (whatever the position may be), it is very important to an admissions counselor that you are contributing to your family’s finances. However, even with a full-time job, there are other activities you could do to enhance your knowledge! Go for it!

3. SERVICE and ACADEMIC TRAVEL PROGRAMS: Most of these experiences are expensive, and as a result, there aren’t too many students who can afford to participate. Because of this, the experiences don’t add too much to your profile/resume. However, what would be significant is if it is a service program you are passionate about, and you raised the money to attend yourself. It will be much more gratifying, and you will have so much more to be proud of and to talk about in the end.

4. READ, READ, READ! Use the extra time in your days and evenings to read books, magazines, and articles about things that interest you. Reading, which facilitates the acquisition of new knowledge, will not only help you master vocabulary but also make you more interesting during college interviews and discussions.


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