UFit College Consulting
What students choose to do during the summer most certainly can improve their profiles during college admissions. Students should use these breaks to explore their interests and gain experience outside of the high school classroom. Whether students spend their summers earning money for college, taking care of younger siblings, doing volunteer work or research, or attending competitive summer programs, they will be elevating their uniqueness and demonstrating that they are responsible, reliable, and driven. What students do during the summer months will add depth to their applications and help admissions officers understand who they are and what they are passionate about.
For students that do not need to work full-time over the summer, there are many activities they can participate in such as academic exploration programs at universities across the country, internships, independent projects, volunteer work, part-time jobs, self-learning, and research. These activities can help students showcase their leadership, creativity, dedication, and collaboration skills. Many of these activities can be done part-time, so even if a student has family responsibilities, they can be considered. Please note that many summer programs open their summer applications in December or January, so now is the perfect time to start exploring these options.
Some summer programs are competitive and some simply fill up on a first-come-first-serve basis. The more competitive programs will require strong grades, essays, and recommendations. Applying to these programs can be similar to applying to colleges. Many of the competitive programs are also free, or charge comparatively lower fees than other programs, which is one of the reasons for their low acceptance rates. There are an incredible number of programs to choose from that are geared towards students in different years of high school, and students should choose programs that will highlight their passions. If students start early in high school, they can take a summer program to explore their interests, and, in later years, they can build upon an existing foundational interest to create a deep-dive into this area of interest. Sometimes, summer activities can extend into the school year or over multiple summers. And, of course, they can help students determine what they will choose to pursue in college.
Not all things in life have to be structured. Students can also create their own summer activities, such as a self-directed research or passion project, self-learning, or volunteering within their community. No matter the chosen path, it is imperative to be involved in an activity that is impactful and measurable, along with being memorable.
It is important to note that students who do not have the luxury of taking several weeks over the summer to attend a summer program or time to do volunteer work or a self-directed project are not at a disadvantage. Those who need to work or have family responsibilities, such as taking care of siblings, should communicate this in their college applications. Doing these things exhibits a tremendous depth of character, commitment, and responsibility. Admissions officers do not expect students to attend expensive programs. They want to understand the many ways in which students are spending time based on their circumstances.
With so many summer options available, it may seem like a daunting task to find the best fit for your student. Ufit College Consulting can help. Our certified college consultants can provide guidance on summer activities, including finding the best programs or activities for your student, helping with self-initiated projects, developing strong applications for competitive programs, and creating an overall strategy for meaningful things to do each summer. We also believe it is extremely important for students to take time for themselves to recharge and have fun over the summer. At Ufit, we will help your student achieve this balance, while helping them select activities that will result in a fun, interesting, and meaningful summer.
Here are some examples of various summer programs (please note there are MANY more out there):
STEM: Research Science Institute at MIT, Simons Summer Research Program, Vanderbilt Center for Science Research, Stanford Institutes of Medicine Summer Research Program (SIMR), Penn Summer Research Initiative, UIC CHANCE STEM Academy, Ross Mathematics Program at Ohio State University, Stanford University Mathematics Camp (SUMaC), Summer Science Program (SSP), WYSE High School Summer Camps at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s Grainger College of Engineering, UIC Engineering Experience Camp, Georgetown Medical Academy, Forensic Science Academy, etc.
HUMANITIES: Telluride Association Sophomore and Junior Summer Programs (TASS and TASP), Carleton College Liberal Arts Experience, Yale Young Global Scholars, National Institute of American History and Democracy Pre-Collegiate Summer Pre-College Program in Early American History, Field Museum in Chicago Internships, Speech and Debate at Northwestern University through National High School Institute (Cherubs), Governor’s School Residential Program offered in various states, etc.
ARTS: Carnegie Mellon Summer Music Programs, Juilliard Pre-College Programs, NYU Summer Theater and Music Programs, MPulse Musical Theatre Workshop at U Michigan, and National High School Institute at Northwestern has Theater, Film, and Video Programs (Cherubs) etc.
INTERNSHIPS: local companies, high school STEM internships, internships with local and national politicians, etc.
VOLUNTEER: local libraries, hospitals, nursing homes, animal shelters, soup kitchens, homeless shelters, forest preserves and organizations such as American Red Cross, Meals on Wheels, Turnout Nation, Project Linus, etc.