High school students often rely on summer internships, athletics, jobs or other learning opportunities to build their college applications — but many of those programs have been canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Instead, Sara Harberson, founder of Application Nation, encourages students to get creative.
Students should use this summer to explore their non-academic interests, or figure out ways to learn the skills they would have acquired during their original summer plans. Harberson said colleges will notice ambitious students who took initiative during this time to develop their passions and who found ways to give back.
“That’s going to show a lot more creativity and ingenuity than actually joining an organization or a company that already has this process or project in place,” she explained. “I find that the most meaningful experiences during the summer are often quite simple.”
Volunteer opportunities and family responsibilities are just as important as any other summer program, too.
“Babysitting younger siblings, cooking meals for the family, doing all the grocery shopping, organizing things for a family, helping out an elderly grandparent — to me, those experiences should be documented on the application and are going to be highly valued and celebrated in the college admissions process,” she said.
Notably, Harberson said a resume-building experience should not cost the student or the student’s family money, especially during a time like this.
“Students feel that they have to have some major accomplishment in the summer, but I would say in times like this, doing something for your family is going to have a lot more value in the admissions process than anything else,” added Harberson.