7 Summer Activities to Boost Your College Application

Are you a sophomore high school student who wants to study in an Ivy League school? Are you a junior who wonders how to stand out from the other college applicants with high test scores and GPAs? Are you a graduating student? If your answer is YES, then you must make a huge effort during the summer. It would push your college application to the "YES" pile.

It would be hard to focus on your college application, as the tragic demise of George Floyd would show that racism is America's pandemic. You are also clinging to the possibility that you could go to the beach soon. And you're one of those teenagers who are livid at J.K. Rowling. (You're still undecided about reading the excerpt from "The Ickabog", her new book, which will be available in the bookshelves this November.) The coronavirus outbreak is a game-changer, as it should give everyone an equal chance. Summer can be a decider depending on how you do with your time. There are a few things that you need to be clear about.

If you're one of those applicants who are thinking about deferring their entry, then you will be disappointed at your limited options. Volunteering is out of the question especially if you're thinking of living in a foreign country. (You won't get the virus from the tourist spots but from an infected individual. You must be wary of a group of people. And it's likely to happen in airports.) If you're thinking of a part-time job, then it won't be easy. Job hunting could take much longer, and you must consider your safety. (Is it worth going out on weekdays?) Lastly, you may be eager to stretch yourself during the summer. The current situation makes you frustrated, though. You might have forgotten what imagination could do. Think of Winnie the Pooh, who is stuck in the rabbit hole after consuming too much honey. He needs to lose weight, so Christopher Robin and their mates can pull him out. Pooh has no other choice but to skip meals for one week (while being stuck in the hole). Christopher Robin keeps him company, reading a book aloud. The moral lesson is overeating can be a cause of many problems, but a box of pizza might pass. You can't plan your list of activities on an empty stomach.

Admissions Officers Will Take Notice of the Following

Spend more time on your SAT (or ACT) preparation. If you're bummed about the less-than-ideal situation, then look at the bright side. You might not have spent a lot of time on your SAT (or ACT) preparation, as homework and extracurricular activities kept you occupied during the term. It had been a productive school year while you were introduced to online learning during the last month or two. (You'll know more about this one later.) High school graduates would give different figures on the exact number of hours you need to allot to your SAT (or ACT) application, but all would agree that it should be long hours. Unless you're a heavy reader, you will have difficulty in remembering words you rarely encounter in Young-adult novels and daily conversation. And you might be one of many students who take a long time in solving a mathematical problem. This is one good reason to avoid the news - and social media.

Collaborate with other people. You should know that college professors grade college students on the extent of their participation in small groups. (It will reflect on the students' essay papers.) You wonder if solo projects may help you do better in this task. No, not really. Perspective gives color to paper writing, and it's important that it won't be your point of view. There will be little problem if you're a wide reader, but pop culture keeps most teenagers from the right path. It doesn't mean that authors are the ideal (quarantine) housemates. Pick an art project, where you can get the chance to work along with your art-loving neighbors. If a group organizes a clean up of your local park every Sunday, then don't think twice about it. And networking can lead to opportunities. All of which can help you grow, which will reflect on your personal statement. If you're insistent on going solo, then it won't hurt to spend some time on a particular activity or two. (It won't be the summer you knew.) Take note of the next one.

Read anything. It's not a good idea to focus on novels and short stories. It doesn't turn you into a connoisseur of people. (You might not notice the wall painting, which could be a telling sign. If you're looking for adventure, it won't be advisable to wander during a foggy night. John Carpenter and Peter Fleming can attest to it.) You have to be selective on what news features to read. You can also browse travel articles. It should make you plan your next vacation. You have something to look forward to. It would keep you from being doubtful after watching the latest TV news.

Learn more about internships. You're aware of the competitive nature of applying for internships, and the pandemic would make a dent in the economy. What are your chances during the Great Pause? Slim, but it would be better than none. It should motivate you, also prompt you to make a thorough exploration of possible options. If you happen to be a graduating student, then don't look at it as an all-or-nothing case. You can discuss your financial status with your parents. There are other ways.

Make a virtual campus visit. If your university of choice is located in your hometown, then set up a date of your actual visit. You have to do it before the end of the summer when it's nearly back to the old normal. If something comes up, which leads to another closing of establishments, then a virtual tour would do. You can imagine how it feels like (after reading all the information). Make a list of questions, which you can email to the admissions officer. And there's a probability that you might be invited on short notice. Take the necessary precautions (before you go out).

Attend a recorded lecture. You might be harping on the benefits of face-to-face lectures and group discussions, which you're likely to miss this fall (and probably winter), but you must learn to adopt to a new situation. (Admissions officer are looking for that particular trait.) A recorded lecture is the new normal, and it's likely to be part of the program in the years to come. Can you be attentive for an hour or two? Do you talk too much? Are you a good listener? If you can't answer the questions in the affirmative, then think about attending a few (recorded) lectures.

Find a summer program. Don't let the cost discourage you from exploring this option. You might learn that your university of choice offers financial aid. Moreover, the program is better than spending lots of time in your room. The pandemic is forcing everyone to be practical, so the summer program should be a good one.

Be an Entrepreneur

There's a great demand for face masks. You can learn during an online class. You can also do research, so you can connect to individuals who have been doing it for some time. You can ask around. You'll make a world a better place (if you pursue this one). You might wonder why this is excluded from the list. It's the economy (if you have forgotten what you read a while ago). Besides, the above list should keep you occupied. You won't get bored. You won't wallow in self-pity. A summer to remember? Yes.

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