Though it's still technically the middle of winter, it's actually the perfect time to start planning for summer. For high school students, it would help if that plan included some type of academic focus. Colleges look for students that take the initiative to further pursue their academic interests. Students should find ways to enhance their knowledge of a particular subject they truly enjoy or enhance their skill in an artistic endeavor they currently participate in or always wanted to pursue. While many students participate in enrichment programs, college courses, internships or by volunteering, there truly is no right or wrong way to do this as long as you are pursuing that which truly excites you.
It's important to remember that the goal here is to further your interests, not an interest you think will look good on a college application. Thus an expensive name brand program or camp is not necessary. In fact, seldom does paying for a university's expensive enrichment program gain you admittance to that university. Neither is it necessary to fly across the globe to do volunteer work with the poor - remember, most of us can find people in need in our own communities. This also holds true for students that obtain fancy internships through their parents but have no interest in what it is they are doing and clearly obtained the position because of their parents. Remember, the goal is to further your interests in something you enjoy, not try to impress college admissions' officers with activities you don't really care about.
For those students that need to earn money during the summer or just enjoy working - that's a great way to spend your summer too! Colleges love to see kids that hold jobs both in the summer as well as during the school year. While some kids are fortunate to gain a job in a field they hope to pursue, most are not that lucky. Either way, a steady job, particularly one held each summer or continuously through high school, tells the admission's officer that you are not only a hard worker, but that you are responsible, dependable, and get along well with others.
The bottom line is that no student should be spending the summer lying around the house or hanging out with friends. Take this time to explore new things or further your knowledge of your favorite things. Whether you wind up out of state at the only camp in the country that offers an in depth exploration of your dream job, or you spend the summer volunteering at a home for the elderly, make sure you've spent your time gaining new and meaningful experiences.
The following are links to various local summer opportunities for high school kids: