THOSE LAZY DAYS OF SUMMER.... OR MAYBE NOT
Students yearn for them and parents dread them. Sleeping late (staying up late), watching soaps, listening to CDs, hanging out with friends and generally having endless days of no responsibilities are what students relish and cause parents to go crazy. If a negotiated balance can be struck before hand, there may be peace in the house.
All students, whether college bound or not would do well to use the summer to their advantage. College applications sometimes have a section devoted to summer activities in which they are looking to see how a student spends his/her free time. Although colleges are not looking for a specific activity, they want to see more participation in the world than that of a couch potato. In addition to strengthening the college application, summer activities can increase personal and social growth, develop leadership skills and a student’s sense of worth and accomplishment. Non-academic extra-curricular activities participated in during the school year are all activities that can be pursued during the summer vacation.
The last thing that a student wants to do is attend summer school, but for some this may mean graduating on time, or improving a GPA, and therefore, strengthening an application (many colleges, including the UofO, no longer accept Ds). For some students it can open up new interests and/or deepen existing ones. If you need to make up requirements for graduation or for college admissions, summer is a good time.
Pre-college summer programs for high school students are designed with a number of objectives: to further academic interests, expose the student to college life, offer an experience in a different part of the country, etc. Although attending a summer school of any kind is not necessary or essential for college admission, it might be a good idea for some students for the following reasons: enhance an interest in a particular subject, build academic learning skills, offer increased opportunities to pursue a talent, improve foreign language proficiency or offer an inaccessible course. These programs can be very expensive and do not guarantee entry into that college and attendance should not be viewed as a ticket into a competitive college.
The following are some ideas of what students could do for their summer vacation to enhance their résumé:
Freshmen – there are jobs that students under sixteen can get like lawn mowing, babysitting, camp counselor. Volunteering is an option. Preparation for standardized tests can start with tons of summertime reading.
Sophomores - continue extracurricular activity, work, volunteer, start narrowing sport and non-academic interests. Read, read, read. Consider visiting some college campuses when on vacation trips.
Juniors – Same as freshman and sophomore summer but more!! Research colleges, perfect your résumé, narrow your list, visit college campuses, practice interviewing and start writing essays. If re-taking SAT I and II tests in the fall, study and practice by building vocabulary, practicing grammar, boning up on math and preparing for specific tests.
Seniors – Whew! It is over – well almost! Respond promptly to all requests for information from your selected college – ie. housing, course selection. Be sure to send final grades to the college along with proof of graduation. Earn some money – this is not a free ride! Get a head start on a reading list if provided. Send a thank you note to everyone and anyone who helped with the admission process
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