Summers are around the corner and millions of students, high school (grade 9th to 12th) and college, will be looking forward to getting a break from their hectic school & college life. One of the big question on the mind of many of these students and their parents is what to do during the summer break that can help their college application for undergraduate studies, graduate studies or M.B.A
Here are a few ideas on what you can do during your summers for your personal and professional development.
Summer courses at your own university, high school or online courses in your area of interest – Any student looking to get ahead, lighten their workload during the school year or get an experience with a college learning and stay environment should look into this option.
If you are a high school student, you can look at summer courses being offered by your school or any other school in your area. If you can get credit for these courses for your graduation, definitely consider this option, By completing these courses not only you fulfill some of the requirements for your graduation but you also can balance your workload for the school year. Secondly, if there are subjects you are having difficulty with, summer can be a good time for you to take classes or work with a tutor in covering the next year’s syllabus or review the concepts from last year. Thirdly, you can also take summer programs at certain local or far away universities in your area of interest. These programs offer you an opportunity to experience living on-campus, meeting students from all over the place and learning something new. It is always good to take a summer program in your area of interest.
For undergraduate students, summer is a good time to complete a few credit courses for graduation while doing part-time work. In addition, the students can also take some online courses that may help them build knowledge and experience in an area they want to get a job in.
Do research or projects – You can work on a project that is close to your interest and heart. It can involve developing an App you always wanted to develop or do a research paper on sciences, astronomy etc. Here is a brief summary of what some of the colleges admission team look for:
Georgia Institute of Technology’s College of Computing prefers students who are “creative and expressive with computing,” says Cedric Stallworth, assistant dean for outreach, enrollment and community. “You shouldn’t be learning Java just to learn Java. You should be learning Java because you want to create a game, and Java is a tool that helps you do that. That puts computing in the right context.” Last year, Georgia Tech received 876 applications for computer science majors and accepted 370 — or 42% — of them.”We’ve had applicants who have worked on pieces of software that have gottenwidely distributed, students who have worked on standards, and students who prior to coming to Stanford have written technical books,” says Professor Mehran Sahami, associate chair for education at Stanford University’s Computer Science Department. “These are extreme cases, but it helps when you have something that’s different and actually shows real passion for the subject.”
Bucknell prefers students who can demonstrate experience in coding and systems development for its computer science and computer engineering programs. Last year, Bucknell received 265 applications for these majors and accepted 86 — or 32% — of them. “Take some online programming course. Sign up for a developer’s kit. Don’t think that you have to choose the hardest or most difficult language to learn. Write in Python. Write in Logo or Pascal. Write and code in Ruby on Rails,” Springall recommends. “Show us that you don’t just like to use computers as a tool but that you’re interested in developing the next generation of the tool.” We’re looking for students that “have a true interest and curiosity about science and engineering,” says Professor.
Find a work at a local place – This is one of my favorites and I believe a critical one for students to do if they have time. Working at any place, including restaurants, community centers, non-profits or any other place, helps them learn life and work skills. They learn how to show up at work on time, manage other kids or customer interactions, speak and communicate in a work environment and work under supervisors. How can you go wrong by learning these important skills early in your life. These skills are also highly valued in any college or job application down the road. Many students think universities only care about research projects, technical skills, grades etc. They do not realize that every university is looking for everyday leadership skills in the students they enroll.
If this work is paid, it also helps a student to earn some income and learn how to manage their earnings and savings. Even if this work does not pay you any income, just the experience can be invaluable. For example, nearly four out of five U.S. students — including those in high school, community college, online college, or traditional college or university — work while in school.
In many countries the summer work opportunity may not be the same as countries like U.S., Canada, Europe etc, so students can find a small business or a non-profit where they can do some work and provide a helping hand.
Build community leadership skills by giving your time to a non-profit or community service event
Here are a few ideas to look at during your summer break
- Promoting Community Enhancement (Cleaning, Painting, Developing Playgrounds etc.
- Reducing Crime and Promoting Safety (Self defenseworkshop, drug free campaign, Teach home alone safety)
- Helping Hungry and Homeless
- Helping Animals and Environment – recycling any waste, environment research, stray animals, time in animal shelters, adoption etc.
- Helping Senior Citizens – music, social company, reading, computers etc.
- Other – Charities, Read books to visually impaired, local hospitals, Research/articles etc.
Have fun! – Last but not the least, have fun during summer and recharge for the upcoming school or college year. Summer is a great time to read books, spend time with family and friends, travel and do short camps.
Good luck and enjoy your summers!