If you are an aspiring artist of any medium, spending your summer as a volunteer assistant arts teacher one day/week is not going to cut it. College admissions are, frankly, ruthless, and the BFA-track provides no exception. So, we’ve curated a list of impressive and rigorous summer programs for aspiring, cut-throat artists wishing to immerse themselves in their craft once school is out.
There is no shortage of ways you could fill the summer between junior and senior year: sitting on the couch and watching all of Riverdale, sitting on the beach and playing on your phone, and sitting by your friend’s pool and sending snaps are all things you could do. But none of those things are going to get you into college. Fear not. We have a few thoughts on what will.
We encourage our kids to seek the best opportunities possible each summer. Your breaks from school should be seen as time to learn and expand yourself while continuing to craft your portfolio into a body of work that brands you as an expert in some area. It’s never too early to become an entrepreneur. For those who are ambitious and destined for business, these programs might be a good place to start.
The summer goal for every high schooler should be to do something impressive with their time. You want to work hard and show that your hard work paid off. But a lot of people think that creative writing isn’t a rigorous field. We disagree. In fact, we feel that having a strong grasp of the creative process is crucial for writing standout college essays. There’s no reason you shouldn’t explore your passions during your time off of school, whatever they may be. That’s why we’ve identified a list of programs just for creative writers who are too ambitious to spend the summer siting by the pool and reciting poetry.
Summer is a wonderful time of year. The snow (barring climate change) has melted. Movie theaters market films to kids and teens. Beaches are back open, and perhaps best of all, school is out. We hate to be the bearers of bad news, but unfortunately, if you want to get into a great school spending your time simply lounging and enjoying the bliss of summer isn’t going to cut it. Sorry (not sorry) but in order to be competitive, you’re going to have to be strategic and work hard during your summer vacation.
We get the question all the time: how should I spend my summer? While there’s no one answer, there is a direction in which we recommend our students head during their free time, and that is to spend time doing something in which they can learn and demonstrate their new knowledge on their applications. Granted internships are hard to come by for high schoolers, summer courses are not a bad way to go. If you are going to go the summer program route, keep in mind that the program should be rigorous and should also fall under an academic niche you’ve already been exploring. For kids who intend to study computer science in college, there are an increasing number of great programs each year.
Earlier this week, we got an email. It read:
"I am a junior in high school interested in pursuing finance or economics and management in college. Do you know of any summer programs at decent/top tier colleges for high schoolers less than two weeks long in June or July that would help me show colleges my interest in these areas? Thank you very much for your help!"
Applications are created, made, and broken with free time that students have (or don’t have). Colleges look carefully at exactly how you spend your free time. And if they can’t tell how you spend your free time while they’re looking at your application, then they’re betting you don’t do much. But…we don’t need to tell you that twice, right? Because you’re reading this blog post. Which means you’re interested in the Ivy League. Which means that you’re likely scheduled out for the next 2-4 weeks.
There are tons of things that you can do over the summer that are certainly worth your time. Everything from programs, projects, reading, working, and of course writing it all down so that you have excess content to play with for your college application essays.
Here we are. It’s June. You’re a rising senior. Finals have been truly crazy. Second-semester has been a ton of work. You just took the ACT again. And now, summer is upon us. Let us guess: you haven’t figured out what you’re doing for the next 3 months.
While all of the kids we work with have summer plans by now, we understand that there are some high schoolers out there who haven’t firmed anything up just yet. We know the year has been really busy, but planning something productive for your free time is crucial to the college acceptance process. This process is not new, so while this may sound a little harsh, we’re wondering what you’ve been doing for the past several months. In this post, we’ll talk to you about how you should think about planning your summer. Ultimately, however, it’s all about planning ahead and being ambitious. So, it’s time to kick it into high gear.
So, you’re a little bit of an over-achiever and you got into all of the summer programs to which you applied. Congrats! Not a bad problem to have. Now, how are you going to choose between them all? The bottom line is, you want to create a singular message to send to these schools, kind of like how companies align on a singular brand identity. Some might say that JetBlue is all about a fun and friendly in-flight experience. Tesla was the first eco-friendly, luxury vehicle, and Toms is all about comfort and community. So, take a moment to identify the brand identity you’ve been developing in yourself for the past three or so years.
As is often our prerogative at TKG, we’re going to be real with you; this is not the smartest question and if you’re asking it, you’re probably already in trouble. Consider that asking, “how many summer program applications are too many?” is the same asking “how many college applications are too many?” You’re missing the point. When applying to summer programs (and college for that matter), it’s all about quality, not quantity.
2017 was colossal in many ways. While you were cramming for the SATs and doing a marathon tour of colleges, America was backing out of the Paris Climate Agreement and Antarctica was losing a chunk of ice the size of Delaware. So, now that you’re free from the clutches of AP U.S. History, you might be considering taking to the streets to join the Climate March on Washington. In this post, we have provided some ideas on how the environmental activists among us can spend their summer while impressing college admissions counselors.
Student government may be over for the year, but this summer, Congress will still be very much in session. 2018 is a watershed year for politics. With more women and people of color running for office than any other time in history and arguably more people marching in the streets than any administration since Nixon, the opportunities to get involved are endless. So what if Sarah Blair became a state legislator when she was practically your age? YOU are going to do something other than read Fire and Fury for the seventh time this vacation. In this post, we will discuss the ways in which students interested in politics can leverage their summer vacation to get ahead in the polls.
Summer is a great time to get ahead in the college application game. While your competition is busy binge-watching Grey’s Anatomy, we recommend kicking it into high gear and setting yourself to pursue health care in college. There are a number of different ways you can impress the admissions committee, from taking a great internship to spending the summer in a serious college course. Whatever you choose, make sure you challenge yourself and make sure you get specific. There will be hundreds, perhaps even thousands of other applicants who want to pursue careers in healthcare. In order to set yourself apart, you should spend the remainder of your high school career developing yourself as the best within a niche within healthcare. In other words, market yourself as the kid who is going to be the best nurse in the pediatric ICU, the top doctor in medical bionics, or even a successful healthcare marketing professional.
While most educators get summers off, for those aspiring to become teachers, summer break is, perhaps, the best time to get ahead. We have highlighted a few ways in which you can spend your summer investing in your college admissions process while your competition is taking it easy. Before we get started, there are a few things you should keep in mind:
We’ve worked with a lot of students and parents and the following questions have come up a lot: can my child go to camp? On that note, what about working at camp? Does that look bad for college? The short answers are no and no. Let us expand on that.
Junior year can be grueling. Many kids look forward to making like Kevin Arnold and spending the summer riding bikes around or going to visit their significant others who are working at mountain lodges for the break. But perhaps there is a reason we all knew Kevin’s friend Paul ended up at Harvard and no one can remember where Kevin, himself got in. While Kevin was busy chasing Winnie, other kids were using their summers to get ahead in the college process.
The Bitcoin revolution has demonstrated one thing—innovation rules the roost. With the expansion of the Internet of Things, the cryptocurrency market, the sharing economy, and every other advancement that has descended upon Silicon Valley in the last few years, innovators and technologists are chomping at the bit to bring the world the latest revolution. For the rising stars of tomorrow’s workforce, now is the moment to develop vision and entrepreneurial acumen. If you don’t launch your first startup at 17, that’s ok. Elon Musk didn’t start Zip2 until he was 24, but believe it or not, right now, when you’re still in high school, when you have no kids, no mortgage, and no job that demands 40+ of your hours each week, is as good a time as any for you young entrepreneurs to get going with your dreams.