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Summer Plans Before College | College Coach Blog

Posted by admin on in College Advice |

What I Did on my Summer Vacation…

CoCo 130820 0289 Presently there comes a time in the relationship among a college coach and a student once the question of summer activities can be broached. The conversation might proceed something like:


I just received a notice in the mail telling me I am a leader in < name that field >. Do you think < name that camp > in < name that college town > will look good on my resume? It’s going to cost several thousand dollars . Should I do it ? Or should I take classes at < name that prestigious college > ? Because I’m also hearing that taking a job over the summer has become the new thing. What do you think?

Relax, take a deep breath, and Zen. Summer vacation shouldn’t be giving you an ulcer.

Certain, I know the summer plan mythology: in case a student wants to get admitted to the college of his dreams, he could need to spend June, July, and August ridding a disease from a faraway and exotic continent, monitoring reasonable elections in an emerging democracy, and learning Latin, Spanish, Chinese, and Swahili (all in between visits to grandma’s house, no less! ). But let’s separate hyperbole from reality.

First off: Grams needs her hugs. No myth there!

Second: Doing something over the summer is important, yes, but the title of the summer program or where it’s housed will rarely make or break your college software. (There are, certainly, a few summer programs with enough cachet to wow an entrance officer right off the bat, but we’re really only talking a handful. ) Exactly what does matter is the experience itself, not where the student has that experience. Does the experience fit a student’s overall narrative and interests? Does the student demonstrate passion for exactly what she’s doing? What did the student learn, and how did it effect her character, dreams, or intelligence?

Find something to do that you would love doing–something that will educate you on a thing or two about yourself, your dreams, and your goals. Once you’ve found this, don’t hesitate: do it!

So if you want to work at Dunkin’ Donuts over the summer because you think it’ll give you the practical work experience you should explore the world of business, go for it. Thinking of volunteering for your city councillor’s election advertising campaign because you think it’ll help notify your decision to pursue political technology? By all means! Itching to immerse your self in scientific research within a nearby college professor’s lab? What are you waiting for? Get the phone! Want to take that course in gothic architecture because you believe you’ll find it intellectually stimulating? In case your local university offers it, register!

Don’t get as well caught up on whether one system sounds more prestigious than an additional — there are no magic formulations here. Instead, focus on which one brings you greater satisfaction.

And whatever you do, don’t forget to visit grandma!



Zaragoza Guerra is part of College Coach’s team of college admissions experts . Zaragoza previously worked as a senior admissions officer at MIT, Caltech, and The Boston Conservatory.

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