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5 Ways to Use Summer to Help Get Into College

by Story2 Guest Author, on Jul 16, 2018 9:17:00 AM


If higher education is on your horizon, this time of year is your biggest opportunity to take strides on your a pathway to admission. In this blog that originally ran on the College Greenlight Blog, you’ll learn five ways to make the most of your summer months.

School’s almost out: do you know what you’ll be doing to prepare you to get into college when the time comes to apply?

swallowtail-butterfly-364329_960_720.jpgWhile it’s important to take some well-deserved rest and enjoy the weather with friends and family, don’t forget that now is a great time to take advantage of some opportunities that will help get you started on your college search as well as beef-up those applications with activities that will set you apart from the rest.

Regardless of whether you’re a sophomore, freshman or even in middle school, as you make your plans consider taking part in these 5 ways to really get ahead this summer.


Want to explore an interest while also doing a little good for the world at the same time?

Volunteering is a great way to get some hands-on experience while also helping out in your community.  If you have an idea of a particular career or area of study, try to find a volunteering program that will give you a feel for whether or not it’s something you want to continue to pursue in college.  For example, if you like children or are considering a career in education, volunteering at a summer camp or tutoring program will give you first-hand experience in the field.

Volunteering shows college admissions counselors dedication to your interests at the same time as a commitment to helping others.  This can also be an activity for anyone from the middle school level and beyond, but some places may have restrictions you should check into beforehand such as parental permission for younger students.  

Summer Jobs & Internships

Summer jobs can help you to earn money for school and get experience that shows admissions departments that you’re a motivated applicant.  If you can find a job in a field you’re interested in, you’ll get an awesome head start on your career path; if not, that’s okay, too! Regardless of the kind of summer job you find, you can potentially gain important skills like organization, dealing with customers, responsibility, and teamwork that can help you in a wide variety of careers.  Did we mention that you’ll be able to make money you can save for college, too?

Another option is to find an internship or job shadow. While internships are often unpaid, they usually allow a more in-depth look at a particular field or profession and are specifically meant for interns to gain job-related skills. A job shadow is similar to an internship, but usually it’s for a shorter term (like a day or two.)  You’ll follow a person around for their day and learn the ins and outs of their job.

Summer School

While this one may seem like a punishment for some, certain students can leverage this time to take classes that can boost their GPAs or allow them to explore subjects they don’t have time for during the normal school year. Students who take summer school also show colleges that they take their studies seriously, and seeing summer classes that were completed successfully on a transcript is often impressive.

Ask your counselor for the summer school options available at your school. If you find the choices don’t suit your needs or if your school doesn’t have summer classes available, you may be able to take classes at another school in your area or even a private school and still receive credit–but check to make sure this option is offered and is compatible with the credit system where you attend.

Summer Programs on College Campuses

If you’re looking to get a taste of the college experience while also visiting a school you may be interested in, check to see if they have any summer programming for prospective students on campus.  Usually, you’ll live in a dorm, sit in on a few classes, and get a tour of the campus.  Some programs include activities both on campus and off to allow you to get a feel of campus culture and the area where the college is located.  These are especially great programs to participate in if you find one at a college you really want to attend–many schools take note of who has participated and keep that in mind when reviewing applications.

Many of the deadlines for programs like these are quickly approaching, so those interested should start looking at applying now. Unfortunately, sometimes these programs cost money and not many have great scholarships offered.  The good news is College Greenlight has compiled a list of 2016 summer programs with generous financial aid to make it easier to find schools where programs like this are affordable.

Visiting Colleges

If you’re a student entering your senior year, the summer is a great time to take a road trip and visit colleges you may be interested in applying to in the fall.  This is one of those opportunities where starting your college search can actually be fun! Whether it’s while you’re on vacation with your family, or if it’s a road trip to check out campuses with your friends, you can check out the schools and also plan side trips along the way.  Before you go or begin planning, make sure to check out the College Greenlight blog post on how to take advantage of your visit for tips on setting up a time, what to do to prepare, and making the most of the tour.

Bonus for Rising Seniors: Don’t Forget The College Greenlight Summer Challenge!

One of the easiest things to do to start your college and scholarship search is to enter to win the College Greenlight Summer Challenge Scholarship. We are entering students to win one of two $500 scholarships if they add 10 colleges to their college list and 5 scholarships to their scholarship list before September 1.  Enter to win scholarships while also getting some important work finding colleges that are the right fit for you and ways to pay for it!

College Greenlight helps students discover, research, and build relationships with the colleges and universities that will allow them to succeed.

Topics:college admission