10 Summer Activities to Supercharge Your College Application Before Sophomore Year!
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10 Summer Activities to Supercharge Your College Application Before Sophomore Year!

Congratulations on finishing your freshman year! As you move into your sophomore year of high school, here are 10 important steps you can take during the summer to enhance your college application:

1. Assess Your Interests and Goals:

Start by reflecting on your academic interests and career aspirations. Identify areas you are passionate about and consider how you can explore them further during the summer.

2. Enroll in a Summer Course:

Take a course in a subject that interests you or in one you need to strengthen. This could be through local community colleges, online platforms, or specialized summer school programs that offer advanced or college-level coursework.

Colleges want to see:
  • Skill Enhancement: Taking initiative to improve your skills demonstrates dedication and a proactive learning approach, appealing to colleges.
  • Academic Rigor: Completing challenging summer courses shows you can handle college-level work, important for college admissions.
  • Interest and Commitment: Participating in summer programs reflects a strong interest in learning and commitment to your educational goals.
  • Networking Opportunities: Summer programs allow you to connect with like-minded instructors and peers, offering valuable mentorship and potential recommendations for college.

Platforms like Coursera, edX, and Khan Academy offer courses in a wide range of topics.

Utilize free online tools like the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) or Holland Code (RIASEC) to gain insights into your personality and potential career paths.

3. Join an Academic Camp:

Look for camps that focus on specific subjects like coding, engineering, science, mathematics, or the arts. These camps can provide hands-on experience and deeper insight into potential career fields.

  • Specialization: Focusing on specific areas like science or arts in summer programs helps develop unique skills, beneficial for related majors.
Coding Camps
  1. CodeWizardsHQ:
    • Offers online coding classes for kids and teens.
    • Topics include web development, game design, and app development.
    • Provides a structured curriculum and live, interactive classes.
  2. iD Tech Camps:
    • Available at various locations across the country and online.
    • Offers courses in programming languages like Python, Java, and C++.
    • Includes specialized tracks like game development, AI, and cybersecurity.
  3. Girls Who Code Summer Immersion Program:
    • Aimed at closing the gender gap in technology.
    • Provides intensive coding classes, mentorship from female tech professionals, and exposure to tech jobs.
Engineering Camps
  1. Engineering For Kids:
    • Offers hands-on engineering camps for different age groups.
    • Topics include aerospace, civil, mechanical, and environmental engineering.
    • Focuses on STEM education and project-based learning.
  2. National Youth Leadership Forum: Engineering:
    • Provides high school students with an introduction to various engineering disciplines.
    • Includes hands-on workshops, simulations, and interactions with industry professionals.
  3. MIT’s Women’s Technology Program:
    • A four-week summer academic and residential program for high school girls.
    • Focuses on electrical engineering, computer science, and mechanical engineering.
Science Camps
  1. Exploration Summer Programs:
    • Offers various science courses, from biology and chemistry to physics and environmental science.
    • Includes hands-on labs, field trips, and interactions with professionals in the field.
  2. Boston Leadership Institute:
    • Provides specialized programs in areas like biomedical science, engineering, and environmental science.
    • Includes research projects, lab work, and lectures from experts.
  3. The Summer Science Program (SSP):
    • Focuses on astrophysics and biochemistry.
    • Students work in teams to complete a research project, such as determining the orbit of an asteroid or studying a protein’s structure.
Mathematics Camps
  1. Stanford University Mathematics Camp (SUMaC):
    • A rigorous summer program for high school students passionate about mathematics.
    • Includes lectures, problem-solving sessions, and research projects.
  2. MathILy:
    • An intensive residential summer program for mathematically talented high school students.
    • Focuses on advanced mathematical concepts and problem-solving techniques.
  3. AwesomeMath Summer Program:
    • Designed for middle and high school students who excel in mathematics.
    • Includes advanced coursework, problem-solving workshops, and math competitions.
Arts Camps
  1. Interlochen Arts Camp:
    • Offers programs in visual arts, music, theater, creative writing, and film.
    • Provides a comprehensive arts education with experienced instructors and state-of-the-art facilities.
  2. California State Summer School for the Arts (CSSSA):
    • A four-week intensive program in visual arts, theater, dance, music, and film.
    • Includes workshops, performances, and exhibitions.
  3. School of Creative and Performing Arts (SOCAPA):
    • Offers programs in filmmaking, acting, dance, photography, and music.
    • Provides professional training and opportunities to create and showcase work.

4. Volunteer:

Engage in community service or volunteer work related to your interests. This could involve working at a local charity, hospital, or participating in community clean-up days. Volunteering demonstrates your commitment to social responsibility.

  • Enhance Your College Application: Participation in these programs distinguishes your application, serving as strong focal points in essays and interviews to highlight your achievements and interests.

5. Start a Personal Passion Project:

  • Initiate a project that showcases your creativity and dedication, such as starting a blog, building a computer program, conducting an independent research project, or creating an art portfolio.
  • Yutong started a blog focused on nanotechnology and science in everyday life and entered numerous STEM competitions.
  • Emily started a nonprofit to raise money for medical PPE during the COVID 19 Pandemic.
  • Isabella started a research assistant position at the California Institute of Technology under Professor Parker.

6. Prepare for Standardized Tests:

Begin studying for the PSAT, SAT, or ACT. Consider enrolling in test prep courses or using online resources to improve your skills. Doing well on these tests can be a critical component of your college application. We believe that other schools will follow Harvard’s lead after announcing they would be requiring test scores for the 2024 Fall Application Cycle. We have a dedicated team of specialists who can guide you in this specific area if needed.

7. Read Extensively:

Spend part of your summer reading. Include both literature related to your academic interests and fiction to broaden your perspectives and enhance your critical thinking and empathy skills.

8. Explore Internships:

Look for internship opportunities in your area of interest. Even if formal internships are rare for high school students, smaller companies or family businesses might offer informal opportunities to gain experience.

9. Work on Soft Skills:

Develop skills like public speaking, communication, and teamwork by joining clubs, sports teams, or other group activities available during the summer.

10. Plan for the Upcoming School Year:

Set goals for your sophomore year. Consider which clubs and activities you want to join, think about any leadership roles you might aim for, and outline your academic goals.

Remember to maintain a balance between preparation and enjoying your summer break! 😊

Reach out to us for specific planning or questions for more guidance! We’re here to support you every step of the way. Whether you’re ready to get started or simply have a few questions, our team is dedicated to providing the assistance you need to achieve your goals. Contact us today and let’s embark on this journey together!

Please feel free to reach out to us directly if you have any questions or concerns.
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(1) High School Years: What Comes After Freshman? | CollegeVine. https://www.collegevine.com/faq/33803/high-school-years-what-comes-after-freshman.
(2) What to Do for College During Each Summer of High School. https://www.usnews.com/education/blogs/college-admissions-playbook/articles/what-to-do-for-college-during-each-summer-of-high-school.
(3) 10 Things to Do This Summer to Prepare for Your Freshman Year of College. https://www.collegedata.com/resources/transition-to-college/summer-prepare-for-college.
(4) How to Prepare for College in High School – Harvard Summer School. https://summer.harvard.edu/blog/how-to-prepare-for-college-in-high-school/.
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