Ah….summer! In Seattle, that means hiking, biking, swimming, beach BBQ’s and summer festivals. My friends in other parts of the country are amazed at how much we pack into our precious summer weekends.
If you are a high school student, especially one who is interested in applying to selective colleges, summer is all of the above, plus a time to grow and learn. Some lucky students have nailed down internships or summer research opportunities. Others are attending summer programs at universities. But what if your summer doesn’t have something like that on the agenda? What if the only thing you have scheduled is your family’s annual trip to the Midwest to visit relatives?
It’s not too late! You can still find lots of interesting things to do that will look good on your college applications.
Are you passionate about something?
· Photography? You could put together a photography show and have it displayed at your local coffee house.
· Creative Writing? You could write short stories to submit to writing competitions or work on a novel.
· Video Games? You could take Coursera classes (for free) on developing video games. Or on the psychology behind those games.
· Hiking? You could volunteer at an outdoors club. Even better, show leadership by organizing a weekly hike.
· Biking? You could plan and undertake a long distance bike trip.
· Music? You could volunteer to help at local music festivals.
· Sports? You could coach younger students in your favorite sport.
· Politics/Activism? You could volunteer at your favorite organization.
The cliché is that “the sky’s the limit”. But in this case, it really is true. You can do anything that you care about.
One of my favorite books about extra-curricular activities was written by Cal Newport; How to Be a High School Superstar – A Revolutionary Plan to Get into College By Standing Out Without Burning Out. Mr. Newport offers lots of ideas for approaches that students can take. He believes that getting into college doesn’t have to be a chore, but instead can be the reward for living a genuinely interesting life.
What about getting a job? That’s a great idea. For several years, summer jobs were hard to come by, but lately I’ve been seeing “Help-Wanted” signs all over the place. And I love it when I run into one of my students bagging groceries or making lattes. Having a job doesn’t mean that you can’t spend the summer pursuing a passion. You can do both. Get a job and spend some time doing something you love. Bonus points if you manage to find a job doing something you love. Now that’s the way to make the most of a Seattle summer!
For rising seniors – I’m offering an Essay Brainstorming Workshop on Sunday, July 12 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Bring your laptop or paper and pen and we’ll spend time doing brainstorming exercises, learning what admissions officers are looking for and getting started on the Common App personal statement. Cost $150. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to reserve a space.
Enjoy your summer!
Author: Teri Thompson