I know that most high school students are only thinking about Spring Break right now but what you should have been thinking about since the end of Christmas break is what to do this summer. For all of you enterprising students who have secured a summer job, made plans to volunteer, arranged to shadow someone or submitted an application to attend a summer camp; way to go. For the rest of you, the time may have passed to make these things happen.
It has always struck me as odd that high school students believe that they must achieve something monumental in order to impress college admissions committees. The truth is that if you will take care of the business at hand (grades and test scores) and demonstrate that your free time is used in a productive manner, most admissions committees are satisfactorily impressed.
Make it a point to use your free time this summer doing something productive. If asked what you did this summer, “hanging out with my friends” is not an impressive response. Having done any of the things I mentioned previously will get an approving nod from college admissions professionals.
Unfortunately, as in almost every other situation, the early bird gets the worm. Summer camps on college campuses begin posting their applications in late January and by March, most of them have waiting lists. Summer jobs evaporate even faster than summer camps but if you want to do these things, search out a few and see what you can find.
What you can count on is being able to volunteer. There are a number of service organizations in every community to go along with churches and government programs. You have no excuse for failing to participate in some volunteer effort over the course of the summer. There will also be opportunities to shadow someone who works in a career area that interests you. Ask family and friends or simply call up a company and ask what programs they have for mentoring students.
Getting off the couch and doing one or a few of these things over the summer will expand your options for life after high school. Don’t waste this free time. Neither colleges nor employers want someone hanging around who would waste such a precious commodity.