Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Summer Plans?

What are your summer plans? Colleges are interested in how you are spending your summers. They don't rank "working a job" lower than "an expensive summer program on Harvard's campus". In fact, they don't rank summer plans at all, but expect that you do something. Colleges learn a lot about you as a person by how you spend your free time. It does not have to cost you any money. Be sure to check WHO is sponsoring the (expensive?) program. Often, for-profit companies rent out elite campuses to run summer programs, and advertise them to you and might lead you to believe it will help in getting into that college. You might assume that the admissions departments are running them. Check the fine print. 

Consider this: 
Student A volunteers at an animal shelter in the summer. 
Student B works part time at an elderly care facility. 
Student C lounges by the pool. 
Student D coaches younger athletes in a rec league. 
Which students make the better applicants? What can you learn about each student by how they chose to spend their summer? What assumptions can the college make about these students, students they've never met?

If you are looking for an educational activity in your summer, consider learning a language for free online, taking a summer course on any college campus for credit, or teaching yourself a skill. Click here to see the list of summer opportunities that are sent to Cheverus.

Do you get fancy mailings inviting you to expensive summer camps? Gold embossed envelopes with your name in calligraphy? First, consider who is running the program and the cost. Students ask me 
'does it look good'? Yes. Anything you do in the summer makes you a stronger college applicant and also helps you get to know yourself better. 
What they are really asking is 'will it help me get in?' No way to tell. If the program is run by the college, yes, it could help you look like a stronger applicant because you have demonstrated your interest in that college. It could make you a stronger applicant anywhere, because you did something academic in the summer. 
Don't spend a lot of money on summer experiences. Colleges don't expect that, and know well how much these programs cost. A student took a summer course on UNE's campus and the parent said "She loved living in the dorm; took an excellent course on marine biology; gained experience working together as a group to create a thorough presentation; and got a small preview of what being at college is like." That's why you take a summer course.
If you are interested, sign up simply for those reasons.

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