There seems to be light at the end of the tunnel with a better understanding of the COVID-19 virus and the distribution of the COVID vaccine. However, the pandemic has still curtailed many traditional summer experiences. Even though the virus may have limited many summer opportunities, such as internships, camps, and programs, showing continued interest through activities is still important. Not to mention, colleges expect that by now, you should have figured out how to adapt your extracurricular pursuits. With summer just around the corner, we wanted to talk about ways to make the most of the most of your summer–you just have to be a little creative!
Explore Online Classes
You want to show colleges that despite the current situation that you’ve remained committed to pursuing your interests and possible major in college. One way to do that is by taking online classes. Websites like Coursera, MOOC, and edX offer courses by prestigious universities for FREE! We know, we know. It might seem like a downer to think about studying during summer break, but it doesn’t have to be! Split between learning Chemistry and Philosophy? Want to learn more about Computer Science? This is a chance for you to not only delve deep and show college your continued interest in a subject but also a chance for you to explore different interests. We want to note that although taking classes offered by prestigious universities is an excellent way to expand your horizons, it will NOT, however, boost your chances of getting into that particular school.
Do Independent Projects
Often, students dismiss hobbies as insignificant or not prestigious enough to add to their college applications, but they can actually make you stand out! If you can show your passion, growth, and dedication to your hobby, it can show colleges that you are genuine and an individual. Whether it’s cooking, woodworking, board games, geology, cars, you just need to find a way to expand on your niche interest and tangibly share it with others.
We had a student who got into bees and beekeeping by visiting an apiary during her sophomore year. She first started by researching, reading, and keeping an observation journal about bees. Last year, during the pandemic, she learned basic woodworking and built her own bee houses that she donated to community gardens around the city. The natural progression of her hobby showed passion and commitment, which made her stand out in her college application. Think about some of your own hobbies and how you can develop them further.
You can also do something meaningful for your club and organization. We know -- meeting on Zoom isn’t that exciting, and trying to do something as a group in person while also following COVID protocols takes a lot of coordination and effort. But if you think outside the box, you can find fun and creative solutions. Maybe you’re part of a Knitting Club at school, and every year, you would get together to knit a hat or scarf for the homeless. This year, instead of just knitting and donating what you made, your Knit Club could create a YouTube channel with tutorials and how-tos for novice knitters to follow. Growing your channel, creating content, and even later on hosting small knitting sessions for people in your community will create a more significant impact and make you stand out more to admission officers.
There’s not a set of steps when it comes to projects, so you have to be creative and set your own path. Just remember, no project is too small or too silly to pursue! Always ask yourself: How can I have a bigger impact? How can I better support my community? How can I reach more people?
Start College Applications
Juniors–this is for you. After a tough year, you might want to lay back, kick your feet up, and relax this summer. This is going to sting a bit, but we recommend that you start your college applications over the summer and finish before school starts again in the fall. That way, you can relax and not stress over college applications during your senior year. You don’t want your fall semester grades to suffer because you were up until 3:00 AM writing your college essays last minute. A general rule of thumb is to apply to at least 10 schools. So during the summer, you should be compiling essay prompts from your list of schools, brainstorming and writing those essays, and completing each application.
We know it's not ideal to miss competing in national/international competitions, or participating in rigorous summer research programs and internships. Still, we want you to understand that adapting and making the best of the situation at hand will make you shine through on your application. Applying to college is more than just your grades, test scores and accomplishments. It’s about showing who you are!
We know it’s overwhelming and stressful, but we are here to help! We can help you figure out how to explore your extracurricular activities during this time and also how to best frame them in your college applications.
Sign up for a free consultation today at email@example.com to learn more about our services!