The end of school is just around the corner. Over the next several weeks, high-school students will work tirelessly to wrap up assignments and prepare for exams before embarking on a well-deserved summer vacation. Summer, and the corresponding break from school, is filled with opportunities for exploration, enrichment, and focused examination of interests. No matter what experience you will pursue, there is one key point to keep in mind as summer relates to college admissions – summer is the part of a student’s larger story. If a student wants their summer to be personally meaningful and impactful in the college admissions process, it should ideally represent one landmark in a journey that will continue next school year. In order to really make summer count, there are certain steps you can take this spring in order to position yourself to build on your experience or experiences.
If you’re going to be pursuing a specific experience that interests you this summer, you may want to do some advance scouting to identify opportunities to continue engaging with this interest in the fall. You can identify local volunteer opportunities, existing school or extracurricular clubs, or interest groups that align with your interests. That way, after you’ve had a chance to develop these interests through summer experiences, you’ll be poised to carry the momentum forward in a meaningful way.
Form A Club
Another good option if you have a particular interest or passion that you will be pursuing this summer, is to learn what steps you can take to form a club at school next year. At many schools, clubs are overseen by faculty sponsors or advisors – if you’re interested in forming a club next year, take the time now to seek out a faculty member who may be willing to sponsor you. Speak to your school administrators and learn what is required of students who want to form school clubs. Remember, your teachers and school administrators are far less accessible over the summertime, and schools may have deadlines to form clubs very early in the school year (if not the end of the prior school year). Take the opportunity now while you have regular access to school resources – learn what steps you’ll need to take to form a club, and approach others who can help you turn your idea into a reality – so you’re well prepared to build on your summer experience next fall. And you do not need to go this route alone; team up with another student(s) who is like-minded and similarly committed if this step seems too overwhelming to charter alone.
Set Your Goals
Now is a great time to think critically about what you’re doing this summer – why have you chosen the experiences you’ve chosen, and what do you hope to get out of them? Spend some time writing a reflection to these questions so that you enter summer with a clear mindset and direction.
This is not to pigeonhole you into a specific mentality – you should have an open-minded approach to summer, and allow the experience to unfold in front of you. However, reflecting critically on your goals and aspirations can help you bring a sense of purpose to your summer experience – and can also be extremely useful for highlighting how your summer experience met or differed from your original expectations. By revisiting these expectations after the summer, you may become acutely aware of certain growth experiences during the summer which you can discuss as a part of your college application.
Start A Journal
It can be incredibly useful to start a journal ahead of summer, and to chronicle your experiences throughout the timeframe of summer break. This not only will provide a written account of the growth and personal development you undergo during your summer experiences, but can also provide tremendous fodder for college essays and resume – not to mention invaluable personal writing practice – when the time comes to document these experiences.
While you are looking forward to summer, it’s never too early to plan to build on your upcoming experiences. By taking the steps above, you will be well-poised to not only have a personally meaningful summer experience, but to carry that experience forward into a new school year in an intentional and impactful way.