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Blog Graphic - Summer Activities for College Applications

Summer Activities That Stand Out on College Applications

The summer before senior year is the perfect time for your child to pursue meaningful activities that will set them apart while applying for colleges. From volunteer opportunities to summer jobs, there are a variety of summer activities that can help your student stand out.

Activities that demonstrate leadership, academic excellence, or a commitment to community look great on college applications. They can also help students win prestigious merit-based scholarships.

At BASIS Charter Schools, we have a strong track record of preparing students for success in college and beyond. 100% of our graduates are accepted to a four-year college or university, and our average graduate earns over $100,000 in merit scholarships. Here are our top summer activity suggestions for high school students.

Work a summer job

Getting a part-time job is one of the best things high schoolers can do to boost their college application. Jobs build responsibility, time management skills, teamwork and a strong work ethic. These are all qualities an admissions counselor might look for while reviewing applications.

Volunteer at a nonprofit

By volunteering with local nonprofits, your student can show college admissions teams that they are passionate about bettering their community. All volunteer positions tend to look good on college applications—whether it’s helping out at an animal shelter or participating in an environmental cleanup effort. If possible, encourage your student to volunteer with organizations that align with their interests or career goals.

Intern or job shadow

Through internships or job shadowing experiences, students can gain practical skills and network with professionals. Internships in industries related to your student’s desired major are especially beneficial. Your student will gain valuable insights into potential career paths and show colleges they are proactive about career exploration.

Sign up for an academic program

Did you know some colleges offer summer programs for current high school students? This can be a great way for students to continue learning over summer break while becoming more familiar with the college experience. Alternatively, try an online course that explores a specific topic. Platforms like Coursera, edX and Khan Academy have a variety of courses geared towards high school students.

Join a sports team

Sports are a great extracurricular activity for college applications, since it shows teamwork, discipline and resilience. There are also plenty of opportunities for student athletes to take on leadership roles. Check with local community centers and recreation departments to see what types of sports programs are offered during the summer.

Prep for college admission exams

While admissions exams like the SAT and ACT are not required at every college, they can still be a deciding factor in admissions. If your student hasn’t taken these exams yet—or if they want to retest in the fall to improve their score—summer is an excellent time to study and prepare. Strong exam scores can show that your student is ready for college-level work. Consider taking a test prep course, using free online resources, or working with a tutor.

Pursue a creative project

What is your student passionate about? Summer break can be a great opportunity for high school students to pursue their passions and grow their skillset. If your student loves writing, encourage them to start a blog. If they’re an artist, suggest creating new drawings or paintings that can be added to a portfolio when college application season rolls around. Is your child more interested in STEM? They can use their coding skills to create their own website or app. These types of personal projects showcase creativity and dedication.

Explore new cultures through travel

Traveling can broaden your student’s perspective and increase their cultural awareness. Study abroad programs are a great choice for high school students looking to boost their college applications, but they can be costly and competitive. As an alternative, look for ways to make your summer family vacation a little more educational. If you’re taking a trip to the beach town, can you visit a museum or a local cultural festival when you’re there? These experiences will be great things for your student to write about in their college application essays.

BASIS Charter Schools prepares students for college and beyond

BASIS Charter Schools follow an accelerated high school curriculum that prepares students to attend some of the nation’s best colleges. Our focus on AP coursework, college counseling and advanced research projects sets us apart from other high schools. Find a BASIS Charter School near you and schedule a tour today for more information.

Amy Licht
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