It’s the summer before your senior year and you’re probably evaluating your options. Among those options, you might be considering getting a paying summer job. After all, maybe many of your friends are doing it or your parents are encouraging you to get a summer job with the hope that doing so will improve your chances of getting into the college of your choice. However, a summer paying job may not add as much value to your college application as you, your parents, or peers might think.
First of all, the strength of your admissions application doesn’t increase just because you add more stuff to it. Colleges aren’t looking for an applicant that has done a million things, but rather colleges are looking for an applicant that has had meaningful experiences. Hence, adding a paying job to your college application, as part of the list of one of a dozen things you’ve done over the summer, isn’t a guarantee that you’ll make your application stronger. It’s the quality of your application that will get you into the school of your choice. The number of jobs you’ve held will not play a great role in a positive admissions outcome whether you’ve held only one paying job or 50.
Now, there are exceptions, of course. There are summer paying jobs that can actually add value to your college application. Thus, before taking a paying job in the summer just because you think it’ll give you a competitive advantage, consider these questions:
It’s coming and there’s nothing you can do about it. The idea of it probably makes you nervous and excited at the same time. After all, the unknown can be exciting, but it can also be frightening. And what exactly is that unknown? Your senior year in high school.
For most rising seniors, there’s nothing more pressing on your brain than what your senior year may hold. Senior year means prom, senior class trip, maybe even a senior prank or two. It also possibly means saying goodbye to friends and loved ones. All that to say, you probably look towards your senior year with bittersweet and conflicted emotions.
But you can worry about all that in the fall, right? It’s the summer before your senior year and the stress and responsibilities that await you might seem far away. You have an entire summer before you have to make huge decisions about your future and you’re probably wondering what’s the best way to make use of your summer before all hell breaks loose.
Below are a few ways you can use your summer break to your advantage:
Your SAT and ACT scores were impressive. You’re sure that the recommendations from your teachers were stellar. Your grades were good…even great in some areas. You always volunteered outside of school or participated in an extracurricular activity or two. Overall, you feel that you’re a very strong, well-rounded applicant and admission to your favorite college is a guarantee. So, you pick up your iPhone to check your email and you see that your favorite college has contacted you. Excitedly, you open the email with a knowing smile on your face.
As you read the first line and then the second, your smile starts to fade. Your brows furrow in confusion. This can’t be happening. You see the words waitlisted and you cease to continue reading as the unexpected admissions decision sinks into your brain.
You’re thinking to yourself: What do I do now? And what exactly should you expect after being waitlisted?
Many high school students wonder what college life will be like. They wonder about the social aspects and the academic challenges that will await them. Thanks to college summer programs that are offered by many top-ranking colleges and universities across the U.S., students no longer have to wonder what college life will be like; instead, they can experience it for themselves in the form of college summer programs.
Top colleges across the nation offer summer programs to high school students. Frequently known as college discovery or college enrichment programs, students can spend a few weeks to a few months participating in programs that focus on an array of subjects from mathematics to the arts. Some schools even offer athletic programs for interested students.
As a student, you’ll have difficult choices to make regarding your educational career. Certain choices like whether or not to take band with your best friend or sign up for drama classes will be easy, while other choices, such as where to apply to college, will be difficult.
When it comes to making difficult choices, some people tend to procrastinate to avoid the inevitable. Unfortunately, when it comes down to choosing where to go to college, the worst thing a student can do is procrastinate because the college you choose is arguably going to be one of the most meaningful choices you’ll make in your life.
So, what’s next? How do you make that choice? And when do you make it?
How would you like to spend your senior year? Would you like to spend it harried, running around frantically trying to complete your college applications? Or would you rather complete your college applications early so that you can enjoy your senior year without worries of essay prompts and recommendations in the forefront of your mind?
If you chose the latter, then you should start the application process this summer. Getting a head start on the Common Application will not only save you a ton of stress, but will also help you stay organized during the process.
It’s your senior year and you're probably feeling just as excited as you are exhausted. You don’t know what the future holds, but you’re hoping that college is your next big step. After all, you’ve paid your dues: you’ve taken the standardized tests, made good grades, volunteered when needed, and also took on extracurricular activities from sports to band – all to impress a panel of strangers who hold the key to your future in their hands.
Clearly, the college admissions process can be an emotional rollercoaster. And at this point in the process, most students will decide that they’ve done all that they can do to convince admissions to select them over another candidate.
Blaming senioritis, seniors everywhere will convince themselves that their last year of high school doesn’t really matter to colleges. Many students will be tempted to slack off and will make the mistake of cruising through their senior year, hoping to avoid taking anything that could be considered academically rigorous.
But before you write-off your senior year as nothing more than a waiting period until your “real” life starts, consider using your senior year instead as a way to prepare for the academic rigor of college. Furthermore, enrolling in certain types of courses can help you earn credit in high school that you can use later in college.
Below are a few ideas of what courses to take during your senior year and why...
The summer after your junior year does not have to be filled with stress and anxiety. You don’t have to sit around worrying and wondering if you’ve done everything you need to do to be noticed and hopefully selected by the college of your choice. In fact, if planned ahead of time, the summer after your junior year can be the perfect opportunity to participate in a few activities that will not only make your summer memorable, but also help add substance to your college application.
While your peers worry about making a last ditch, herculean effort to impress the college admissions office by prepping for yet another standardized test, consider using your summer vacation to invest your personal time in activities that not only interest you, but will serve to impress an admissions officer or two.