Take a deep breath. Ahhhh. Can't you just feel summer? Smelling the ocean breezes and mountain wildflowers. Watching little kids jump through front yard sprinklers. Sipping sweet cold drinks as we build elaborate sandcastles. Taking late night walks to see brilliant sunsets. Hearing the crack of a bat hitting a baseball. Or, if you're in Houston lately, walking through flooded streets and hearing the crack of thunder!
No more homework. No early morning alarm clocks. No essay stress. No dinner table interrogations about college. No college forms to fill out....
Wait. What? A college admissions advisor talking about enjoying the sights and sounds of summer and leaving behind the college admissions drama? It's kind of a "What you talkin bout, Willis?" moment, right? I know that seriously dated me as a child of the 70s and 80s, but what can you do?
But YES. That's exactly what we are saying. It's important to take some time in the summer and recharge your batteries. Allow yourselves time to unwind and relax. College admissions can wait. Unbelievable, right?
Believe me. We are not trying to turn away any business, but we do recognize that summers are a time for personal growth; they are a time when the sixteen to eighteen year old brain is developing and growing into the future college student brain. And part of that process is to let go some (or… most or…all) of the college drama, so the high school student can relax and then begin that transformation.
So here are a few of our suggestions for the best approaches to college admissions prep during the summer:
Take some time to be completely switched off from school and all school-like activities (this includes form filling and essay writing...).
Don’t panic if your summer isn’t yet planned. There is no formula for the perfect summer activity. If you’ve already got a summer internship or program abroad, that’s fabulous, but if you’re just now getting into the summer groove, you still have plenty of time to find something productive and engaging to do.
Get a summer job if you don’t have one already. Scoop ice cream. Blow whistles at kids running around a pool. Teach swim lessons. Learn to make delicious smoothies or to work a cash register. Deliver pizza. Fold sweaters and t-shirts in a shop. Wait tables. Herd little kids through activities at a summer day camp. Wrap burritos. Harvard Admissions Dean, William Fitzsimmons agrees. On the Harvard College Admissions page, he states that “an old-fashioned summer job that provides a contrast to the school year or allows students to meet others of differing backgrounds, ages, and life experiences is often invaluable in providing psychological downtime and a window on future possibilities."
When you're ready - either at the beginning, middle, or end of your summer, spend a little time thinking about and planning for college admissions. Maybe take a college trip. Spend a few hours reading through the common app. Brainstorm some ideas for those college essays. Float the idea of writing a personal statement. Or two.
When your batteries are recharged, call or email us so we can help you with a summer plan. We can help you create a plan that will manage college applications and allow the high school brain that important downtime. We would love to be able to say that we can create a "no stress plan" for you because that's truly our goal, but I know we will have to go with a "minimal stress plan" because that's the world we live in. Just remember, though, that the college admissions process doesn't have to be stressful; in fact, it can and should be a fun and exciting time for developing self knowledge and personal growth.
Your Admissions Family,
Carolyn, Gisela, and Charlie