It may not seem ideal to have to spend our precious summers focusing on such a purely academic thing as the college application process, but there are definitely ways to polish your résumé and still have fun! Check out the ideas below.
1. Start a club that is all about your hobby
It doesn't matter what your hobby is: reading, photography, writing, painting, playing music, skateboarding... you name it! Hobbies surely bring you joy, but starting a club dedicated to it will bring your experience to a whole new level. You can receive much more recognition, along with support and advice from everyone, and even start to plan events, like a workshop or a performance.
More importantly, how does this exactly make a great extracurricular activity for your college application? Well, it shows leadership, creativity, and character, and that you care about more than just academics.
2. Summer camps
Some summer camps could be right around your neighborhood, while others may be located in different cities or even countries. The latter, therefore, is a chance to travel and experience new cultures, cuisines, and people. It shows colleges that you are willing to try out unfamiliar things and explore something beyond your usual routine.
In addition, many camps, like the one at Yale, offer various courses, so high school students may gain a better understanding of the field they are interested in and develop some experience with it.
You can also look at programs organized by Rustic Pathways or Gakko. They are not all summer camps, but are also very beneficial educational trips that offer scholarships when needed.
3. Travel as a volunteer
Community service is unarguably an important element of a student's extracurricular activities, and it is not impossible to make it a fun learning experience. There are many programs now looking for volunteers to help tutor underprivileged students, take care of old people, or nurture pets... that also require traveling and will provide you with accommodation and food.
It is community service, yet you can still get around, meet new people, and actually step into the shoes of others.
4. Look at online community service
Finding community service opportunities around one's neighborhood is rather difficult for a lot of students, because not all the time will a high schooler's help be needed. So, it is a great idea to go online and find an online service program that suits your abilities and also aligns with what you enjoy doing.
If you're a little bit lost, Collegevine is the perfect place to get started.
5. Take free online courses on things you'd love to learn
It could be a skill, a language, or just anything you have wanted to know more about but did not get to spend time on during the school year. There are blizzards of free courses offered by Google, Coursera, and Udemy, with many interesting options, such as "Learning How to Learn" and "The Science of Well Being".
Not only will you be much more knowledgeable, but after finishing the courses, you can request certificates proving that you have successfully completed them! Sometimes they do require a small fee, but a $50 price is honestly worth it for valuable recognition.
6. Start a business
Starting a business of your own shows leadership and that you are not afraid of setting out on new beginnings. It expresses that you are willing to try and manage a lot of things yourself and be your own boss. There are actually many services to offer as a small business these days: you could resell things, sell handmade stuff like soap or jewelry, or something else entirely, such as taking photos or just guiding tourists around your city.
It is a great idea to start with an Instagram and/or TikTok account for your own business, because just a video going viral could make it blossom and may even add hundreds of new customers to your roster.
7. Take a job (at your favorite place!)
Another way to make some pocket money is by taking a part-time job, but that is not all. Part-time jobs, either as a waiter or a tutor, enrich your experience as an individual and as an adult, especially when you are going to universities that require essays.
You will also be able to expand your connections, and if they go well, you may even receive amazing supplemental recommendations from your manager or employer that will definitely ameliorate your application.
One way to make it fun is by taking jobs at your favorite places, like your favorite coffee/boba shop or your local fashion store.
Having to think about college applications during the precious summer break is not the ideal thing to do for us high school students, but it is actually the perfect time to pursue new and valuable extracurricular activities! Hopefully, this article helped you out on your way through the whole process, as well as added some fun to it.