Summer is the best opportunity for a student to set themselves apart from their peers.
Here are some ideas:
CREATE A CLUB/OR FIND A SUMMER OPPORTUNITY OF INTEREST: During the school year, students are confined by the courses and extracurricular offerings at their high school. There may not be a club for that specific something that interests them. Figuring out your high school doesn’t have your club could be an opportunity to create something from nothing; be a club founder. However, not every high school student is industrious enough or sufficiently interested in doing everything it takes to get a club off the ground at their high school. Some high schools have rigid pathways to creating clubs that require students to write up mission statements, identify a teacher/adviser, recruit a certain number of club members, etc. It’s a lot of work. And then there’s the question, “what is this club going to do?” So, for many students identifying and participating in a summer experience that provides them with the exposure that they crave is a better alternative.
DIG INTO COMMUNITY SERVICE: Help out – Summer is a wonderful time to become more engaged in your community through service projects or internships. Is there a cause you feel passionate about? Literacy, environmental sustainability, educational equity? There are health organizations and non-profits that would love your assistance.
GET A JOB: Work – Paid work experience is extremely well-regarded by colleges because it requires students to demonstrate maturity, responsibility and dedication. Don’t look down your nose at entry-level jobs in supermarkets, restaurants or retail establishments; they are great training grounds.
BE A LEADER: Train for a leadership role – I always tell families that “leadership is the most transferrable skill from high school to college.” Colleges are continually seeking students to replenish the roles within clubs and organizations that are left open after students graduate. There are an interesting variety of leadership training programs offered.
SCORE AN INTERNSHIP: Get a taste of the real world with an internship – Internships and job-shadowing experiences can be a great way for a student to test the waters. Seeing what the day-to-day life is like in specific careers will often be a pivotal, life-changing experience.
CREATE: Be entrepreneurial – start something new. Create a business with a friend and make some money. You can reinvest your profits or donate them to a charity of your choice.
THINK AHEAD: Prepare for next year. Invest in the college process – prep for standardized tests, finalize your college list, visit campuses and begin writing your college essays.
Oh ya, and have some fun too!
Lee Shulman Bierer is an independent college adviser based in Charlotte, N.C. Visit her website College Admissions Strategies.
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