Colleges are looking for students who will enrich their campuses; teens who have displayed a willingness to get involved and to pursue their passions are more desirable. Students who take advantage of great summer opportunities (as opposed to being couch potatoes) will make a stronger impression on an admissions committee.
There are various routes a student can take to a meaningful summer experience. The possibilities are virtually endless, and they don’t need to cost you a fortune. Pricey programs can be nice (if they are within your budget), but they are far from necessary. The truth is that spending money to send your child to an impressive sounding program will not affect his college acceptances. What can be more impressive to colleges is when students discover a unique need in their own community and display leadership skills by creating their own projects; he could volunteer at a church, senior center, or youth recreation center, for example. You shouldn’t feel that you are putting your child at a disadvantage if you choose not to pay for an expensive program.
One great way to spend a summer is exploring any pre-existing interests or hobbies. This can range from sports clinics, to summer stock theatre, to working on a local campaign, to taking classes at a local college, etc. These experiences are ones that can and should build from one summer to the next, showing a developing and deepening commitment to a passion.
If your child isn’t sure what he really cares about yet, summers are also a great way to dabble in new areas; colleges respect a student’s willingness (or even eagerness) to try new things. Also, your student should not feel reluctant if he wants or needs to get a job over the summer; work is character-building in its own way and shows a student’s responsibility and maturity. Whatever your child does over the summer, be it a summer program, community service, traveling, working, it should be representative of his interests and values. Bottom line: a student’s summers in high school should be *productive*.
Upcoming Events from The College Connection:
"Getting Started with the College Process"
2 p.m., Sunday, March 25th
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7 p.m., Tuesday, March 27th
185 King's Ferry Road Montrose, NY