Seven Strategic Ways to Boost Your College Applications Over the Summer

When school is out, students can stand out. Summer is one of the best times for students to make themselves more attractive to colleges. Without the pressure of school and their many extracurricular commitments, students have time to enhance their college applications in other ways. Through various summer activities, students can provide evidence of their interests and supplement their academics, as well as prove their commitment to learning. Although summer may seem like a long time off, now is the best time to start planning.

1. Take a college class

Students can dive into a subject that interests them while showing colleges they’re ready to tackle college coursework. Students can explore topics ranging from cybersecurity to marine biology, fashion design to entrepreneurship, computer science to literature, and dozens more subjects. Taking a college course may also give you college credit. But be careful if this is the case; you’ll need to report the grade to the colleges to which you apply. Another plus? By completing an introductory level course over the summer, students may be able to take a more advanced course once they get to college.

2. Enroll in a pre-college academic program

There are pre-college programs to satisfy almost every interest. Some are even quite prestigious and look great on a resumé. From theatre and music to STEM and debate, students have plenty of opportunities to gain valuable experience. Students who attend a residential pre-college program can get a glimpse of college life by living on campus. Tell us your student’s interests, and we’ll recommend a few programs. Support from International College Counselors can also help with the more competitive programs, which often are difficult to get into and have an extensive application process.

3. Explore personal interests

Travel to a foreign country or start a business. Other great options for the summer include mastering a language or an art, participating in research, joining a community service organization, or even starting one. Want to further explore a personal interest? Our counselors know of a number of opportunities for students–both in-person and online.

4. Gain firsthand work experience

Find a job or an internship. Working in the real world demonstrates commitment, professionalism, responsibility, and maturity. Plus, internships and jobs can help students choose (or eliminate) a possible career path or discover new strengths or interests. These options can be in person or virtual/remote.

5. Acquire new knowledge

Students can take classes online in almost any subject. Websites like edX, Coursera, Udemy and Harvard offer free online courses. Students who want to earn a certificate or want to receive feedback on assignments must pay a fee; otherwise, many of these courses are free.

6. Do volunteer work

Students can acquire leadership experience and new skills while doing good for their community. By choosing the right opportunity, students can even explore their interests, learn new skills, and gain leadership experience. Think of the possibilities for aligning interests with volunteer work. Students interested in science can volunteer at a nature reserve or science museum. Students wanting to explore work with animals can volunteer at an animal rehabilitation center. There are opportunities for students in almost every field! Plus, students may be able to earn service hours.

7. Start your SAT or ACT test prep

Improve your score. Use books, a tutor, or free online resources (via Khan Academy or via ACT) to get familiar with the test and to practice. Need a tutor? We’ll be happy to recommend one.

Connect your student with an ideal summer experience. For any and all help with identifying productive summer plans for high school students and/or the college admissions process, contact the college admissions counselors at International College Counselors. Visit https://internationalcollegecounselors.com/ or call 1-954-414-9986.