Summer might seem far away, but it is important to start making your summer plans now. The goal is to use your summer to show interest in an activity, to try something new, to attend a program of interest, to conduct research, and all with the goal of differentiating yourself in the college application process.

When are Summer Plans best made?

Now is a good time to look into the summer.  You may be thinking about hitting the ski slopes or hoping for more daylight right now, but many summer programs have “due dates” and you want to start making a plan and putting it into action. You can join a formal program, study at a university, take community college classes, conduct research on your own, or incorporate your summer activity into your summer vacation. Starting now, before the big testing seasons arrive will lower your stress.

Research Opportunities

How can a high schooler even beging to think about research? There are more opportunites than you think.  Research opportunities can be available in a variety of different fields. Along with our guide to SUMMER RESEARCH PROGRAMS, here are some ideas for researching research:

  • Look into your local university or college and read the bios of the faculty. See if any of the faculty are doing research and ask if you can become involved. In Maryland, we have HOPKINS and they have an amazing Center For Talented Youth
  • Georgetown has STEM and research programs. 
  • The University of Maryland, North Carolina, and other flagship schools often have summer programs.
  • We also work with and as companies that will help your student develop a strong research opportuntity specifically for them.
  • Family Connections. You may have research going on right under your nose! Check with your parents and family connections to see if they can help introduce you to the right people that are in your area of interest: law, real estate, medicine, sports.
  • Cast a wide net. The old saying, “it’s who you know” is true. Ask around and see what comes up. Teachers, coaches, neighbors, caregivers, companies, chambers of commerce. Get creative.

Volunteering and Social Engagement

Community service and volunteering means more than just showing up one time. Colleges want to see a level of commitment and interest in the organization you are helping.  Volunteering can be anything from tutoring and mentoring younger students to supporting an organizations fundraising or marketing efforts. These days the food pantries, clothing collection and other non-profits are in need of energetic students to help them fill their shelves and their needs.

  • If you have a local non-profit you’d like to support, start with a phone call. Explain that you are a high school student and are interested in a summer-long volunteer opportunity including remote work. See what happens!
  • Look for opportunities that will provide some depth and opportunities for leadership. If you can’t find anything long term, consider creating your own opportunities for leadership and to give back. This shows leadership.
  • Burgers and Bands for Suicide Prevention, Anne Arundel Food Bank and the Let’s Go Music fest are organizations that many of our students and their families participate in.

College-Based Summer Programs

Go to college! f you’d like to do a college-based program, make sure it aligns with your class year and is more specific and hands-on. These programs can be competitive and have deadlines for applying. Do your research now! is a magazing that has many ideas and opportunities.

A quick reminder is that attending a camp or a program at a particular university does not increase your chances of getting in to that particular school, but it does add spice and interest to your college application. Stick to things that are in your interest wheel and build your leadership around your passions.

At Annapolis College Consulting, we help students find creative ways to show leadership. We offer suggestions and resources for families. What students do outside of the classroom is a big part of the college application picture and we are here to help you show your best self, make a difference in the world and become the best version of yourself.