What I did on my summer vacation…

Summer vacation is so close you can practically taste it: barbeque, watermelon, freezer pops, sunscreen (it usually smells so strong you can practially taste it). But whatever are you going to do during your 3 months of freedom? As much as I like all day marathons of America’s Next Top Model and Mythbusters, I would suggest you do something a bit more constructive with at least part of your free time.


I’m not suggesting you go all Jack Kerouac on us, but who doesn’t love a good roadtrip? Loud music, junk food, the license plate game. Extra points if you see one from Hawaii!  Juniors, now is your time to tour campuses, eat in dining halls, play frisbee on the quad! What are you waiting for? Most colleges do offer summer classes, so you’ll probably be able to sit in on a class or two as well. Make a list of your top schools and go with friends or family. I know, I know, we’re sounding like a broken record but for a very good reason. Why commit 4 years of your life to a mystery school? If you can’t make it to a physical college visit, try virtual.

2. Treasure Hunt

Every year, you get smarter. Every year, college gets pricier. Even if the economy is back on track by the time you toss your graduation cap, no one would turn his nose up at a little extra money. Why not take some time while your tooling around the Internet Facebooking, YouTube-ing and Twitting (Tweeting? Twittering?) to visit some online scholarship Web sites? Places like Fastweb.com and College-scholarship.com have databases filled with thousands of scholarship opportunities. People will give money to just about anyone to go to school these days. Do you have a special talent, a unique ethnicity, an eccentric hobby? There is probably a scholarship out there for you. Also, check with your parents’ companies for specific opportunities. There is no reason not to try!

3. Makeover

Well, not really a makeover. But now is a good time to beef up your academic resume. Colleges look for applicants that excel in specific areas. They like masters and experts. Students who have shown real dedication and leadership. Summer is your time to shine. I’m not saying you have to go to the nearest developing nation and immunize children (though it wouldn’t be a bad idea if you were in the neighborhood). Think about causes that mean something to you, personally. Get an internship (even unpaid) in a career you would like to pursue. Volunteer for organizations that you care about. Start your own non-profit–but only if you can see it through and not toss it aside like your elementary school obsession with saving the dung beetle, which, consequently is doing just fine without your help.

Summer shouldn’t be all work and no play. Hang out; have adventures; relax. Make sure you have one heck of an essay come fall.

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