Colleges love to admit well-rounded students who are involved in different extracurricular activities during the school year. It proves they can manage and balance school as well as other important things, which is an important skill for college students to have. But if you really want to impress a college and further boost your college resume and application, getting involved in some summer activities will help significantly. Not only are you a driven and purposeful individual, but spending your valuable free time during the summer to better yourself and further yourself personally, academically, or otherwise is sure to impress college admissions boards.
Quality is important when it comes to extracurriculars, however, so students should be aware of that. Simply joining ten clubs at school, most of which you don’t even participate in actively, is not likely to help you get admitted to the college of your dreams. Being a well-rounded student is important, but being overextended is not beneficial. It’s better to have a few activities that you are passionate about and committed to than to list fifteen different extracurriculars on a college resume. Additionally, the activities you select should be meaningful and important rather than just something easy to do or with minimal commitment.
Why Does a College Resume Matter?
Before we dive into specific activities to help boost your college resume, we have to ask the obvious question: Why does a college resume even matter? Not all colleges will require an actual resume as many prefer you simply fill out their applications. However, most of the information that will go on your resume will often be on your college applications as well, so it’s important to have valuable things to tell colleges about your time in high school. It’s great to have good grades, and it’s incredibly important to not only getting into college, but also to succeeding in college and doing well in the workforce. But colleges (and employers) want more than just academically smart individuals. They want to know the people they are admitting will benefit their community and improve their school. They want you to be well-rounded, responsible, committed, and passionate. When you take part in summer activities that are meaningful and impactful, you’ll improve your college resume and applications in the way that colleges desire, leading to a higher likelihood of acceptance. So what are some of the best summer activities for students to boost their chances at college admission?
Participate in a School Program
Whether hosted by your high school or a college or university, summer activities for students are commonly held at schools all across the US. They may be focused on the school itself, a particular industry, or a project that helps the community. Students can sometimes stay in college dorms for a portion of the summer and get a college experience, all the while learning about leadership and exploring future career possibilities.
Take College Courses
Whether at a community college, a nearby university, or an online college, taking courses during the summer will benefit you big time. Not only are you showing your academic ability by completing classes at a college level, but you’re showing that you have drive, commitment, and confidence in yourself. You’re likely to learn a lot about the subject you’re taking, as well as how to manage your time well, what to expect from a college course, and more. Some of these classes can be difficult to get into as they are competitive and often require teacher recommendations, but they are all well worth it. Some allow you to live on campus while others can be taken either online or at a nearby local campus that you commute to.
Get a Job
Having a summer job is a pretty popular thing for high school students to do, but if you’re intentional about the job you hold, it can really help boost a college resume. Maybe you can land an internship at a nearby research lab or tech company, or maybe you can work as an assistant to a bigwig in a major corporation. While flipping burgers or working at the movie theater still count as activities that boost college resumes, holding a job with more weight and importance will help you even more.
Get Involved in Research Projects
If you’re particularly interested in studying something in a STEM field, the sooner you can get involved, the better. There are a number of ongoing research projects at prominent universities and research labs all across the US, and they often invite students and student interns to be a part of the research projects. If this is something you’re interested in doing, talk to some experts in the field or do some online searches to learn about deadlines, applications, references, and more.
When you’re looking for meaningful activities that boost college resumes, volunteering should be at the top of the list. You can find endless opportunities to volunteer or do charity work both locally, nationally, and abroad, from working at a local soup kitchen to serving low-income students in a big city to digging wells in rural Africa. Find an organization or a cause that is meaningful to you or that you are interested in learning more about, and find a way to volunteer to help the cause. Giving your time without being paid or otherwise rewarded for it is not only beneficial for boosting a college application, but it is also sure to be incredibly meaningful to you.
Start a Business
Particularly if you’re interested in being an entrepreneur or getting a business degree, starting a business is a great use of your summer vacation. You may wish to start a landscaping company or a babysitting business, or you may want to start a website or create a product. Do some research about the best businesses to start as a student or the most profitable businesses in the shortest amount of time (since you likely only have the summer to completely focus on it). Take notes of hits and misses, make a business plan, and be sure to keep records of profits and losses. If your business is successful, you may wish to continue it throughout the school year or even get others involved in it.
Shadow a Professional
This could be a summer-long activity or it may happen just a few times over the course of the summer, but finding job-shadowing opportunities can be hugely beneficial. You may find a company who will take you on as an intern or one who will just let you shadow certain individuals for a time. You may be asked to do small tasks around the office or you may just be allowed to sit in on meetings and observe. Either way, embrace your personal network and utilize connections you may have to professionals in fields of interest, and see what type of shadowing opportunities you can land for yourself.
Do a Personal Project That Is Meaningful to You
The school year can get very busy very quickly, and you may have some personal projects that are important to you that you simply haven’t had time to work on. Maybe you want to write a book or create a particular painting, or maybe you’re inventing your own video game or building your own car. Doing things that are meaningful and personal are great summer activities for students, but in order for them to boost your college resume, you need to have something to show for the time you spent on them. For example, you need to have that book written or the video game created.
This isn’t going to directly impact your actual college resume, but it’s a great use of your summer and is, by far, one of the more recommended summer activities for students in high school. Make a list of colleges you would love to attend, do research regarding their programs and schools of study, and then talk to your parents or guardians about planning a few trips. Some local colleges may allow you to just drop by and walk around on your own time, while other schools will require you to plan out an organized visit, complete with tours.
Be sure to make use of your time off this summer and take advantage of these resume-boosting summer activities for students.