6 Ways to Improve Your College Application Over the Summer

By on July 11, 2011

This is a post by Radhika Bora, a member of the Acceptional High School Journalism Program. In this post, she suggests six ways high school students can use their free time over the summer to improve their college applications by doing things they already love.

1. Most importantly, commit to activities and programs you’re truly passionate about. If you’ve never ridden a horse in your life, then it would be a bad idea to raise funds for equestrian charities just to buttress your resume. However, if you love riding horses, you have a lot of experience with stables, and/or you’re an animal rights activist then it would be a good idea to create a fundraiser for maltreated horses.

2. Artists can display their work publicly at exhibitions, regardless of age. If you set up an exhibition of your artwork at a studio, a museum, or even at your school, you will gain credibility as an artist on your college applications. Alternatively, if procuring an exhibition space proves difficult, the more tech-savvy artist can create a website and display his or her portfolio online. Creating a website is relatively easy and (once the website is complete) art enthusiasts can view your artwork, giving your art greater exposure.

3. The literary-minded and organizationally capable can begin publishing literary magazines at their schools. Many schools already have established literary magazines, but some do not, and these schools will usually allow driven students to create one to circulate the writing of the school’s most talented students. Bear in mind, however, that creating and circulating a literary magazine requires many hours of work in one’s leisure time. However, if you’re willing to put in the time and energy, a literary magazine can be very rewarding.

4. If you like to write, get published! If your school already has a literary magazine, submit your writing (whether it’s a poem, a short story, or some other form of prose) to the editor. There’s a significant chance you’ll get your work published and circulated in this way. Additionally, you can join your school newspaper, participate in a journalism internship, or get involved in your community and publish your work in a local newspaper or magazine. Having published work on your resume shows admissions officers that you’re both skilled and committed as a writer.

5. Start a nonprofit organization about an issue you care about. (If you pick a random issue that is irrelevant to your interests, it could seem disingenuous on your college applications.) For instance, if social inequalities bother you, you could create a volunteer organization to tutor children in less privileged areas of your city. In this way, rather than just asserting your belief in social equality regardless of economic class, you would be taking action to effect positive change.

6. If you’ve got a lot of time on your hands and you’re passionate about writing, go ahead and write a novel. It may seem impossible, but if you published your novel via a vanity press (a technique whereby you essentially publish your own work) it would demonstrate your drive and your love of writing. There are not many seventeen- and eighteen-year-old published authors, so just taking on the responsibility of a novel and investing yourself in it would make you stand out.

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  1. Andre Tarquinio

    July 17, 2011 at 10:33 am

    These are very good ways to stand out to college admissions offices and I love the very specific examples for people who are passionate about any number of things because I feel there is always something available to do if you are truly passionate about it.

  2. Samantha Reilly

    August 18, 2011 at 10:13 pm

    This article is so helpful! I love the emphasis on working with your passion. It seems so useless to waste time and effort on a cause just to get credit for work you didn’t even enjoy!

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