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Boost your college admission chances with summer activities that count

Jobs are scarce and summer is upon us. Do you hang out at the pool for the next few months or decide to explore some other opportunities? Your summer experiences can often give colleges a good idea of who you are and what is important to you. Your summer activities can make a difference for college admissions. That does not mean that there will not be time to relax, but it does mean that you need to get creative. Here are ten tips to help you get started:

1. Volunteer at Habitat for Humanity, the Humane Society, or a local theater company. Schools want to accept students who will contribute to the college community.

2. Shadow someone in a business that interests you. Ask your parents if they know someone in a career that you would like to find out more about.

3. Start a play group for young children in your neighborhood. Send out fliers to neighbors and offer activities and fun for a few hours once or twice a week.

4. Gain some valuable skills and start your own business: Dog walking, computer assistance, vacation home care, neighborhood newspaper, etc.

5. Establish a charity you care about and make it your cause. Find out what is already being done and see what original ideas you can come up with. Or begin a charity that interests you.

6. Research something you know little about and become an expert

7. Take a college course that is offered to high school students. Attend a university that offers summer programs for high school students.

8. Get serious about a sport you enjoy and pursue it with enthusiasm. Work on your skills or attend a camp.

9. Read books that stimulate your mind and get your brain thinking. Start a summer book club for friends who may have similar interests.

10. Write a letter to the mayor of your city and find out where you can make a difference. Be willing to volunteer wherever you can.

Some of the best college essays are written about students’ unique summer experiences. They often reveal qualities colleges seek in applicants: Initiative, community contributions, and leadership. Colleges like students who are different and who have pursued interests that most teenagers would not consider. So, get off of the couch and get busy. There is no reason your summer cannot be meaningful and fun at the same time.

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