While summer is a great time to rest, relax and unwind, it can also be a great opportunity to further your college dream. Here are some tips on making the most of the summer months with an eye towards getting into your ideal college.
Test Out Your Interests
One of the toughest choices that high school students have to make is settling on a course of study in college. After all, you will be spending 3 or 4 years in your program, and likely looking at a career related to it for years afterwards; better be sure that you like it!
If you’re trying to choose between two or three different college programs, a summer job or summer program that lets you immerse yourself in that field for a couple of months is a good way to make an informed decision, either for or against, a particular program. Considering a career in business or finance? Consider asking if you can intern (or better yet, get a paid summer position!) with a small local business for the summer. Want to work in the entertainment industry? Volunteer at a local community theatre.
Advance Your Education
If you’re already sure what subject in which you want to major in college, consider getting a head start by taking summer courses or programs. Interested in engineering? Consider taking an engineering summer program at NC State University. Pursuing biotechnology? NC State also offers a college-level course designed for advanced students. Looking at English as a major? Local libraries and colleges offer writing workshops and book clubs that can help.
Not only will summer courses and programs relevant to your future college studies help you be sure that you’re going into the right program in college, they can also giving you a deciding edge in your college application. Demonstrating that you’ve already pursued interests relevant to the college program to which you’re applying can show you’re a committed student.
Work On Your Weaknesses
Not all high school students should play to their strengths when looking at summer activities, however. If you feel you have one or two critical weaknesses that might affect your eligibility to top colleges, consider devoting your summer to working on them.
If your high school record is strong on academics, but light on “character” components, consider working on leadership or community involvement by volunteer coaching a children’s sports league. If you received one or more marginal grades in one of your high school courses, consider asking your teacher or guidance counselor for advice on remedial summer courses or tutors to help you brush up on weaker subjects.