As the college admissions process has become increasingly competitive, students have branched out and explored a variety of avenues to enhance their admissions prospects. One casualty of this competition has been summer vacation.
Increasingly, summer vacation is being used by students to round out their extracurriculars and pad their resumes. Since it’s unlikely this phenomenon is going to stop, here are three options to pursue over the summer to make yourself a more competitive applicant.
While working a job or internship while in high school is by no means a prerequisite for admissions, schools generally do look favorably on students with work experience. They are viewed as having more real life experience, and are ahead of the game when it comes to finding a college internship. The difficulty, however, comes in finding a position that actually hired high school students. Numerous places do, however. One of particular interest is the NSA’s high school internship for STEM students. Not only does it check the internship box, but it also checks the public service box that admissions officers like to see.
Many of the elite universities in the U.S. are research universities, and thus put a primacy on, well, research. Conducting summer research at a university provides numerous benefits. First, it allows you to explore your interests and get a better feel for the field that you might want to major in. Second, you get exposure to professors who, if you perform well, could turn into powerful recommendation writers. Third, you get a paper published (or at least be sighted as an author) and submit this paper as supplemental material. While there are some established programs like at Cornell, Few pre-college students have the option of conducting research, and it will likely require you to email professors of interest in order to arrange the research position.
3. Community Service:
Community service continues to play a huge role in college admissions. But for it to become a truly positive component of your application, you will have to go above and beyond the typical student and the requirements to join your school’s honor society. While programs like Habitat for Humanity are wonderful and truly change lives, it is more impactful if you work in your own community and chart your own course, perhaps even providing you with good content for your common application and supplemental essays.