52 Weeks to College: Week 6

It's already time to lock in summer plans! What will you achieve between your junior and senior year?
February 7, 2022

Summer is coming, and it’s time to start locking in your plans.

In order to make the most of your summer between 11th and 12th grade, you’ll want to be focused on giving your credentials that extra boost and getting a head start on the college application process.


1. Do something that adds to your either your academic or activity credentials in a meaningful and distinctive way.

A meaningful and distinctive experience during the summer gives your credentials that little extra something and that ultimately makes you a stand out as an applicant. Don’t let the words “meaningful and distinctive” throw you. You don’t have to cure cancer or travel across the world to do something meaningful and distinctive. You just have to do something that adds to the credentials you’ve been building for the last three years. Here are some questions that should help you determine what you could do this summer that would be meaningful and distinctive:

  • Do you have an academic passion? If so, look for a summer program that allows you to study your passion at an advanced level. Even better would be a summer program that allows you to do an independent project that you could refer to in your application. For example, if you are passionate about science, you could do a summer program that includes science research in addition to classroom study.
  • Are you an athlete with the possibility of being recruited onto a college team or qualifying for national or international competitions? If so, you’re looking for opportunities to show off your skills to college recruiters and compete at the highest levels possible. You can also look at a good training/skills development camp or program (Covid permitting).
  • Are you an artist, writer, performer or all-around creative type? If so, the summer is your chance to have a gallery show (virtual is fine!), write and self-publish a novella, or mount a production. You can do that at a summer camp (Covid permitting) or seize the initiative and do it on your own. Whatever you do, work on improving your craft and think about documenting as you go because it could give you a great start on a required or optional artistic supplement in your applications.  
  • Are you a community-service volunteer? If so, use the long days of summer to take your volunteering to the next level by doing something full-time for several weeks in a row. Working as a volunteer every day rather than once a month or once a week will give you a very different perspective.
  • Are you someone who has a definite career in mind for yourself that you’d like to explore? If so, then you’ll want to secure an internship (volunteer or paid, virtual or in person) that lets you see what people in that career do.  
  • Do you want or need to earn some money this summer? Start looking for a job now. You might be able to start working part-time right away and then bump up your hours during the summer. And don’t worry that having to work is a mark against you in the admissions process. Nothing could be further from the truth. Admissions officers are always impressed by an applicant who can juggle the demands of the working world with school and other obligations or interests.

2. Get a head start on college applications.

Taking time during the summer to get a head start on your college applications is the key to a sane fall of your senior year. We’ll have a full list of everything you can get done in a separate post that will come out in the late spring. For now, you just need to be aware that you’ll need time to work on your college applications throughout the summer. One other heads up: if you have colleges on your list that offer on-campus interviews during the summer (Covid permitting), you’ll want to take advantage of this opportunity if your schedule and budget permit. Otherwise, virtual visits are fine too.

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