Summer is approaching and the last thing you probably want to hear about is college prep. Summer is supposed to be a time for fun, relaxation and a break from academics. But what if I told you that you can kill two birds with one stone: have fun and improve your college chances? Believe it or not, it’s possible through a variety of teen summer programs and strategies.
Study or volunteer abroad
If you have a bit of the wanderlust spirit, you can travel, see the world and chalk up some points for your college application. You can simply travel, blog about it and add to your social media profile. Or, you can choose a summer study abroad or volunteer program that will complement your interests. Either way, traveling abroad says you are able to adapt, embrace different cultures, and live independently. Colleges look for these traits in their applicants.
Find something you love and volunteer
You don’t have to travel abroad to do community service and it doesn’t have to be a chore. Find something you are passionate about and spend the summer doing it. Are you interested in construction? Work for Habitat for Humanity. Do politics interest you? Work on a local political campaign. Are you concerned about the environment? Help with local environmental cleanup projects. VolunteerMatch helps you to find just the right activity that suits your interests.
Start a charity or a campaign
It’s not work if it’s something you love. Think outside the box. Gather used books for nursing homes and recruit volunteers to read to them. Create activity books for children in hospitals and deliver them. Gather used test prep books and donate them to local libraries. The possibilities are endless. Need some ideas? DoSomething.org can get you started.
Attend a summer college program
I know what you are thinking. The last thing I want to do is go to school over the summer. But these programs are created by the colleges to introduce students to the college environment. You can choose a program at a college that interests you like one at Boston University for students who are interested in medicine. You will meet new friends and get to know professors while getting accustomed to college life.
Work on your social media profile
You’re going to be online anyway. Why not clean up your profiles? Colleges look at social media profiles when reviewing applicants. Boost your presence online by creating your very own personal website to brag about your achievements and your passions. If you’re an arts kids, social media could help you find an arts audience. While you’re at it, follow some colleges on any number of social media channels to learn more about them.
Get a job that provides college scholarship money
Work isn’t necessarily fun, but if you get a little bonus in the process, it can be. Some companies, including Starbucks and McDonalds, help pay for college.
Shadow a professional or find a high school internship
If you are learning about your future career, it can be fun. Find a professional in your career interest and ask if you can shadow them for a week or two. Look for an internship in your local area and spend your summer days learning all about that career. You might find that it’s not the career path you want to pursue; or you may cement your interest and know with certainty this is what you want to do.
Visit colleges to get a feel for campus life
Colleges will be glad to see you, and summer classes and camps will be in session. Summer is the perfect time to visit colleges to get a feel for the campus, walk through the library and the common areas while doing a little exploring. Add a few college visits to your vacations and take the family along.
Take a summer course that interests you at the local community college
I admit, this would probably not be at the top of your summer to-do list. But, if it’s something that interests you and can use your summer to get college credit, what’s not fun about that? Here’s an added bonus: You can save money by taking some courses at a community college at a much lower rate than at the four-year college. It’s a win-win. Just check to see that credits are transferable.
Read as much as you can!
In addition to all these fun summer activities, don’t forget to do your summer reading. Read books and articles you enjoy as well as the required ones. Expand your mind and increase your vocabulary. This will help improve your standardized test scores.