Every summer is a gift and you’re ready to kick back, get some sun, and hang out with your friends all day. But summer is also a good time to add to your resume and up your odds of getting into your dream college. While you can still make time on your summer break for fun—like beach days, camping or Netflix sessions—it’s worth your while to fill your days with some meaningful job or activity.
Here are seven great options to consider:
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Take a summer college course
One great way to boost your college applications? Take classes at a college. See what offerings are available at your local community college, and look into options at nearby universities. You can even get some college credits under your belt that can be transferred over when you decide where you’re going.
Get involved in research
If you’re hoping to study a STEM field in college, one great way to prepare is by working on a research project at a college or university. Reach out to professors at schools near you who are studying topics you’re interested in, and ask them if they’d be willing to take on a high school student in the lab. While you’re unlikely to be paid for this, it’s a great way to get preparation for college.
Find a summer job
There’s nothing wrong with getting some real-world work experience — and making some extra money — during your break. Find a job in retail, at a summer camp, or at a restaurant. Students who have work experience show colleges that they’re motivated, hardworking, and take initiative. You can learn a lot from having any job, even if it’s not something you see yourself doing past high school.
Volunteer in your community
Giving back to your community both feels good and gives your college apps a bump. Look for opportunities that feed into your interests. Like soccer? Volunteer as a coach for a kids’ team. Passionate about animals? Look for opportunities at shelters in your area. Interested in medicine? See if there’s a chance to work at a hospital or clinic.
Start a business
If you have an entrepreneurial idea, summer can be a great time to get going, since you don’t have to worry about schoolwork as well. Consider turning your business idea into a real concept, whether you want to start a dog-walking business or a company that sells cookies.
Get an internship
Internships are mostly limited to college students, but you can find some opportunities that are open to high schoolers, especially if you live in a major metropolitan area. Oftentimes, working connections can help you secure an internship opportunity. Reach out to family friends or owners of businesses you frequent to see if they have anything available — you can also ask about shadowing.
Begin a blog
If you’re a humanities or writing person, consider starting your own blog over the summer. It’s a great way to put your skills to work, and it’s really easy to start a free blog using WordPress. When it comes time to apply, you can send your pieces in with your college applications as a writing sample.
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