What are your chances of acceptance?

Your chance of acceptance
Duke University
Duke University
Your chancing factors
Unweighted GPA: 3.7
SAT: 720 math
| 800 verbal


Low accuracy (4 of 18 factors)

Summer Activities to Strengthen Your College Applications

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Doing something productive and meaningful during your high school  summers helps you stand out to adcoms. It shows them your passions and interests, as well as how you want to make a difference. Read on to learn about how different types of summer activities can strengthen your applications.



Summer Programs and Courses

Do you love to learn? If so, you don’t need to take a break from gaining knowledge in the summer. Attending a summer program not only immerses you in the world of learning, but you’ll also meet like-minded people who share your passion. Find out more about summer programs in Your Ultimate Guide to Summer Programs for High Schoolers.


Summer programs differ from the traditional school year because you’ll be in an immersive-learning environment, where you’ll often focus on one or two courses or topics you really enjoy as opposed to taking a full course load. Additionally, many summer programs are held on college campuses, so you’ll live with other students and get a feel for  college life. Need more convincing? Check out 7 Reasons Why You Should Participate in a Summer Program.


You can also learn and expand your horizons by taking college classes. Even if you can’t physically attend, you can look for online opportunities. Furthering your education shows colleges that you love to challenge yourself, which makes you an ideal college student.



Work at a Job…or Start Your Own

Colleges like to see strong work ethic. They want their students to be future leaders in their chosen fields. A summer job that correlates with your college planning or passions not only demonstrates you’re serious about your future, but also helps you gain valuable leadership experience you can use in building your resume and admissions profile.


For instance, a future chef might work in a restaurant, and an aspiring teacher could be a camp counselor. Learn more about how jobs can benefit your resume for college in How to Spin Your High School Job Into an Impressive Extracurricular.


Budding entrepreneurs might even start their own business. After all, many successful entrepreneurs got their start young. If you work on it now, it will allow allow you to you live out your passion and get a head start. For tips, check out A Beginner’s Guide to Starting Your Own Business in High School.


Along with learning important leadership skills, gaining experience in the working world, and showing colleges that you take initiative, you’ll also be able to save for college or earn extra spending money.

Get an Internship

While many internships are limited to college students and graduates, high schoolers may be able to land opportunities, too. Get a taste of your future career by working in the industry of your choosing. Some internships, particularly those for high schoolers, are unpaid, but you’ll gain insight into your prospective profession.


Working at an internship shows colleges that you’re a take-charge person, invested in your future, and able to commit to your passions. Plus, if you do a great job, you may even pave the way for a role at the company. Learn more about how to be a top-notch intern in How to Ace Your Summer Internship With These 8 Etiquette Rules.




Colleges appreciate students who care about their world and want to better it for everyone. Spending the summer volunteering shows that you’re passionate about helping others and a person of strong character and conscience. You don’t need community service for your applications, but it can give them a boost.


As with jobs and internships, find something that correlates to your passions. For instance, if you love reading, check out the local library. Want to work with kids? See if a nearby daycare or nonprofit camp accepts teen volunteers. Tutoring is a good choice if you hope to go into education. Learn more in 32 Community Service Ideas for Teen Volunteers.



Cultivate a Skill or Hobby Independently

Summer is a great time to learn a new skill or cultivate an existing one. You might, for example, study a language or learn an instrument. For more ideas, check out 50 Summer Activities for High School Students.


You can showcase your work or progress on a blog or website or discuss it your essay. This shows colleges that you love to actively learn and try new things.



The Takeaway

Summer should be for relaxing, but it’s not all down time. Colleges want to see you being productive and furthering your goals. These activities demonstrate that you’re a take-charge person who always works hard and will continue to do so in college and the professional world.


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Short Bio
Laura Berlinsky-Schine is a freelance writer and editor based in Brooklyn with her demigod/lab mix Hercules. She specializes in education, technology and career development. She also writes satire and humor, which has appeared in Slackjaw, Points in Case, Little Old Lady Comedy, Jane Austen’s Wastebasket, and Funny-ish. View her work and get in touch at: www.lauraberlinskyschine.com.