Identifying Summer Opportunities
Want to use your summer to build your resume for college applications? CollegeAdvisor.com is here to help!
Former Admissions Officer Chelsea Holley will share her tips and advice on finding the best summer opportunities to help build your resume and prepare you for your future major during a 60-minute webinar and Q&A session.
In this webinar, you’ll have all your questions answered including:
- Where can I find summer opportunities?
- What should I be applying for based on my intended major?
- Are some summer opportunities better than others?
Come ready to learn and bring your questions!
2023-01-15 – Identifying Summer Opportunities
Anesha: [00:00:00] Hi everyone and welcome to tonight’s webinar. My name is Anesha Grant. I’m a senior advisor at CollegeAdvisor and I will be your moderator this afternoon. Today’s webinar is Identifying Summer Opportunities. Before we get started, I just want to orient everyone with the webinar timing. Our presenter will share some tips, resources, and guidance, and then we will open up the floor to respond to your questions in the live Q&A. On the sidebar, you can download our slides on the big handouts tab and you can start submitting your questions in the Q&A tab. Please only submit your questions in the Q&A tab. Now let’s meet our presenter, Chelsea.
Chelsea: Hi Chelsea, how are you? Hi Anesha. Thank you so much. Good evening everyone. My name is Chelsea Holly, and I serve as an admissions officer here at College Advisor. I’ve worked in college admissions for a little over 10 years now, working on recruitment and admissions decisions at selective [00:01:00] institutions. For about seven of those years I managed and built pre-college programs at some of the institutions I’ve worked at. So super excited to talk to you about all of the many opportunities and help you kind of decide what the best opportunity might be for you to maximize your summers.
Anesha: Awesome. Thanks Chelsea. Looking forward to hearing from you. But before we get started, we do wanna know with for our audience, what grade level are you in. So take a few minutes and let us know by responding to the poll that’s out there, what grade level you’re in, you are in, and it’ll help us kind of give some context to where folks are coming from.
Anesha: As we’re waiting, I guess. Did you see very fascinating classes for the pre-college programs that you were leading at your institutions? Was there a fascinating class that stands out for you for some of those? Both from of those, from some of those programs, Chelsea?
Chelsea: Yeah. So I think, um, some of [00:02:00] the, the more narrow or specialized programs can be the most interesting.
Um, so I worked with, um, a product design program, specifically industrial design. So students were able to prototype, um, and create business plans, um, and share, um, information all. Three weeks time of, of a product that they wanted to bring to market. So those are really, really cool to watch and I think the parents really enjoyed those too.
Anesha: That is awesome. That sounds great. Um, thanks for sharing that. And I’m sure, I know we’re gonna hear more from you about the different programs, but, uh, we’ll go ahead and close our poll and I will let you know that, uh, about. 10 folks in our space are in the 10th grade. Um, uh, 13 folks are in the 11th grade and a couple are in the 12th grade.
So the majority of folks seem to be in 11th grade. So right before junior year, summer, um, trying to think about some programs and, uh, opportunities for themselves. And we have a few folks that are also in the ninth grade, so the majority and 10th and 11th grade. Um, thanks folks for completing this survey.
I will hand [00:03:00] it over to Chelsea and be back a little bit later.
Chelsea: Thanks so much. Um, so that breakdown is wonderful. Um, and one of the reasons is that there is typically an opportunity for you no matter what stage you are, as long as you’re in high school. Um, sometimes it could be a little difficult for rising ninth graders to find summer opportunities.
But pretty much once you’ve completed your ninth grade, um, there are tons of opportunities for you and we’ll get into exactly what types of opportunities exist out there. Um, so first let’s talk about why you would want to look into summer opportunities, um, and why it’s beneficial to you in the college application.
Um, one, it allows you to diversify your extracurricular activities. Um, so for many of you, you have attended the same high school for the past two, three or four years. Um, and we know that there can be some limitations both at the high [00:04:00] school level as well as in your community of what you are able to get involved in.
Summer programs allow you an opportunity outside of your high school, outside of your city, outside of your state, maybe even the country. Um, and really dive into something that interests you and that might, uh, paint a better picture of you on your college application. Um, number two, take advantage of free time if you are interested in going to a selective institution.
I know that you all are taking. Classes and really trying to do everything you can possibly do to look attractive to some of these colleges, and that makes for a very busy high school experience. Um, so summers give you a block of free time where you don’t necessarily have to worry about. A full load of courses that you can dedicate to something.
Um, and then lastly, they are a great opportunity to round out your college application. So as we talk about what summer [00:05:00] programs would be a good fit for you, you wanna think of where are some gaps in your college application, um, some areas you wanna strengthen, um, some areas that you want to have more experience in.
And the summers are a great way to do that.
So let’s talk about types of summer opportunities. This list is by all means, not exhaustive, um, but these are probably the most popular, uh, summer opportunities that you’ll hear about, um, and that you might see us talk about over the next 30 minutes. Um, so the first one is for credit pre-college program.
So for credit means that you are actually taking a college course. They will typically be taught by faculty member at that college, and once you complete it, you’ll walk away with a transcript and college credit for that program. Um, these for credit pre-college programs can be as short as four weeks.
They could be as long [00:06:00] as 12 weeks. It just depends. But the main thing to think about is that they are for college. Um, one of the cons of the for credit programs, they’re typically the most expensive. Not only are you paying for the experience and time that you’ll be on campus potentially, but you’re also paying per credit hour to actually take this course.
So for credit pre-college programs typically have a price tag on them. Um, but just like all things in the college application process, there are often scholarship resources, so don’t hesitate to ask about. the second piece, non-credit, pre-college programs, those tend to be shorter, um, and less expensive.
So, um, you may have a one week or a two-week immersion in a specific subject where you go on campus, um, learn about a topic for a week and have some culminating project, but it won’t be as intensive as the long term for-credit pre-college. [00:07:00] Um, both of those are great ways to get on campus and explore something that you’re interested in.
Competitive summer programs. So competitive summer programs could be for credit or non-credit. All this means is that there is a competitive nature, oftentimes a highly competitive nature to getting into the summer program. So saying that you went to a certain summer program is an accomplishment enough because it is a very highly sought actor and competitive application process. Now, a lot of students get really hung up on the name of the school. So I want to attend a summer program at Harvard or Yale or Stanford. Um, and all of those things are great, but to be honest, any summer program at any institution, looks good on your college application. It means that you took the time to do something, um, productive.
Do something to [00:08:00] further your interest in your college major when you could have spent your summer lying on the couch or hanging out with your friends. Um, so do not be quick to count out summer opportunities based on the name of the college. Um, another type of summer opportunity that is not on a college campus or typically not on a college campus are internships either paid or unpaid.
Now, it can be a bit difficult for high school students to find internships. There are some programs that are specifically dedicated to providing internships for high school students. And I will say those tend to be incredibly competitive because there’s not a ton of them out there. Um, more often than not the best internships that I hear about.
Students getting involved in, they’re getting those internships through their network, so through a friend of a parent or one of their teachers at their high school, um, referred them to this internship. Um, and so we’re [00:09:00] really gonna talk about using your network and deciding who in your network can assist you in finding an in.
Um, part-time jobs. So part-time jobs sometimes come in the form of being related to your major. So maybe you want to go into nursing and you were able to find a part-time job at a clinic or a hospital. Um, that is always amazing. Um, but sometimes part-time jobs are just that, a part-time job. Um, and I want you to think of that also as a type of summer opportunity because depending on, um, what you have going on in your life, in your home, um, you may have to work a part-time summer job or you may want to.
Um, and so having a part-time job is something meaningful and it is something worthwhile that you should definitely talk about if that’s how you’re going to spend one of your summers. A community service project. So again, this is similar to [00:10:00] internships. This might be a formal service project or something a bit more informal.
Um, helping out at a local food bank over the summer, volunteering at your church. Um, these are all things that can be considered a service project. um, mission trip or travel abroad. Um, these are always exciting summer programs to see. Um, but we also know that, um, this is not meant for everybody. Um, and not everyone is going to have access to travel abroad in the summer, um, or go on a mission trip.
Um, so these are opportunities that may be a good fit for you and that you may have some access to. But don’t feel bad if this is not something that you see yourself doing while you’re in high school. Uh, a self-guided project. Um, typically as students gain more knowledge in the areas of academic interest that they’re taking up, they may look into a self-guided project.
Um, so something that is, uh, reflective of all of [00:11:00] the experience you that you’ve had to date, but you are driving, um, this project. Um, it’s something that you’re working on, that you’re spending time to do. Um, so those things that always look really great on, um, a resume or a college application. And then lastly, dual enrollment courses.
This is also very popular. Um, students deciding to take additional courses oftentimes at a college during their summer. Um, this is a way to make up credits, um, to take rigorous courses that you do not have access to at your high school, um, or just to, uh, brush up and explore a new topic.
So when should you start thinking about summer program opportunities? Um, the earlier the better. So for all of you that are on this call and are in the ninth grade, kudos to you. Um, it’s a great time to be thinking about summer opportunities. Um, but the thing about summer [00:12:00] opportunities, you have to think about it every single summer.
So the students that really maximize their summers are going to be involved in something, I would say three out of the four years that they’re in high school. Um, so they’re making an opportunity, um, they’re taking, taking an opportunity to do something each of those summers. So not only should you be thinking of it pretty early on when you get in high school, but each year you should begin thinking about summer opportunities. Really around this time. If you’re looking at pre-college programs on college campuses, if you are looking at competitive summer programs, most of them will either begin launching their applications in the next week or two. Um, some of the more competitive programs might have deadlines coming up, um, in February.
So this is absolutely the time to start researching, um, and understanding what’s out there and what might be the best fit for you. [00:13:00] Um, it’s really great to have diverse experiences each summer. Um, so, you know, there’s all these amazing programs that are offered on college campuses. It can be very tempting to say I am going to spend, um, summer number one doing a pre-college program at NYU and summer number two, doing a pre-college program at Duke, and summer number three at Cornell.
Um, however, you wanna make sure it makes sense for you, and are there other things that you could be doing over the summer that maximize or extend the knowledge that you have already built? Um, so here I’ve provided an example of kind of what a progression might look like for a computer science student.
So in the 10th grade, this student decides that they are going to go to a pre-college computer science program. In the 11th grade, they were able to land a tech internship through one of their parents, and in the 12th grade they decided to take a computer [00:14:00] science course at a local college and complete a self-guided coding.
Um, as you can see here, this is a number of diverse experiences that can show up in many different ways within the college application. And we’ll talk a little bit about how you can make that shine, um, in the next, in the next slide.
So where does someone find these summer opportunities that we are discussing? Um, so. A simple search for, uh, college summer programs or college summer opportunities are always great. You might wanna add for high school students at the end that typically will narrow, um, what shows up for you. Um, if you are looking at programs that are on college campuses hosted by institutions. Um, those are often called pre-college programs. Um, or you could do, um, a search for the college you’re interested in and summer [00:15:00] programs. Um, so college websites are gonna certainly be, um, one of the first places I would start if you’re looking for a formal program on a college campus.
but there are all these other amazing resource sites that will, um, not only focus on pre-college programs, but show you some other opportunities. So niche.com and CollegeVine are, um, two of my favorites. And then of course, CollegeAdvisor, um, is always a resource for identifying those summer opportunities as well.
Um, your high school guidance counselors and so definitely reach out to your counselor about opportunities, um, as well as some of your teachers. Um, a great thing to ask your counselors are what are some of the summer opportunities that your previous students have participated in that were successful in the college admissions process?
And they can give you some ideas of, um, what other students are doing. [00:16:00] National organizations. Um, so if you are a part of any, uh, clubs or organizations at the high school level that have national chapters, um, or national presence, you might look into what types of summer opportunities they have, um, for students to get involved in.
And then last, but certainly. The family network is super important. Um, as I mentioned, particularly with internships, I see, um, that going through your family network can often yield some of the best results for internships in, uh, paid jobs.
Chelsea: So what are the materials that you need to prepare, um, in order to apply for summer opportunities? Um, so these are not gonna be required for every summer opportunity, um, but there is a good chance that you could take advantage of, um, preparing some of this. [00:17:00] Um, I would say that the resume is a great exercise for any student that is looking to apply to college in the next couple of years.
Um, it is always impressive to see a student, um, that has a resume, that keeps a resume. It is also a great way to keep track of what you’re doing, um, and what you plan to do. So getting a resume together is a wonderful place to start. Um, as you’re thinking about materials and applications. Um, your transcript. So many summer opportunities specifically for high school students ask for an academic transcript.
I would have access to at least an unofficial current transcript at all times. And as you are approaching summer programs or summer opportunities, um, you wanna have a few sealed official. Um, so that’s something that you can drop in the mail or have your school send off. Um, but don’t forget about that [00:18:00] one.
That is a, uh, big material and a lot of summer opportunities will require that. Um, recommendation letters are huge, both in the college application process as well as for students looking at summer opportunities. Um, so recommendation letters from teachers, counselors, mentors, um, coaches, these are all people that know you in some sort of professional, um, scholastic or leadership oriented dynamic.
Um, so having letters from those people that can speak to those qualities in you is very important. Um, typically when we’re asking for recommendation letters, we do not want a personal recommendation. Um, so while I know that your mom and your aunt and your neighbor could say all these amazing things about you, um, this is not typically what we’re looking for when [00:19:00] we ask for rec letters in the college application process or for summer programs.
We are looking for others that know you outside of a personal dynamic. Um, and some of these people may also know you personally as well, but it’s important that they’ve seen you. Spaces and that they have connected with you in other spaces. So definitely be prepared to, um, have some recommendation letters.
Um, I would encourage you to begin making a list of those that might be good recommenders for you, um, so that you can talk to them and tell them what you’re interested in so that when you do come to them and say, Hey, I have this really great opportunity. I need a recommendation letter. Um, they’re not caught off guard, and they can quickly get a letter together for.
Um, and then lastly, a cover letter. Um, a cover letter is not something that is always required, and I would say typically for a pre-college program, um, at an institution you likely won’t need a cover letter. Um, but if you are a [00:20:00] high school student looking to get that internship or maybe you’re approaching a non-profit organization about how you can partner with them.
Service project. Um, a cover letter allows you to introduce yourself in language. Um, it allows them to know what you’re interested in. What you wanna do in college, what you want to do after college. Um, and it can be a really persuasive material, um, for an employer to receive, especially when we’re talking about hiring a high school student.
Um, so I think these four pieces of information, um, could give someone, um, a great vote of confidence in who you are, um, and know that you are ready for the task of, uh, completing a summer opportunity.
Anesha: Thanks Chelsea. I’m gonna give you a bit of a break with a quick poll. Um, so we wanna know for all of y’all who are in this room, and I’m guessing a lot of folks are thinking about the college application process, obviously. [00:21:00] So let us know where you are in the process thus far. It’s totally okay if you haven’t started and, uh, we certainly hope, uh, enough of our seniors are, are almost done or already done, but let us know. And I, I wanted to highlight as we’re waiting for the poll results to come in, something you just shared around the outreach to, to nonprofit organizations and things like that and directly stating your skills.
I think for folks who may not have, uh, the Family Network or folks within their community who can help them with internships. It’s fascinating to like outreach and actually suggest the project based on the skillset that you have or the skillset that you’re working to develop. So I just wanted to highlight that as I thought that was an interesting idea from what you shared of like directly outreaching the folks and, and highlighting, um, some components.
Anesha: All right. Gonna go ahead and close our poll. Um, And just so you know, about 59% of the folks in the space are, [00:22:00] are researching schools. That’s the majority. Um, about 29% have not started, and that’s totally understandable, especially for those folks who are in the ninth and 10th grade. Um, 7% are working on essays, 2% are getting the application materials together and 2% are almost done.
So, um, the majority of folks though, are still in the researching phase, which. Uh, given the context around today’s conversation. So thanks for that little pause folks, and for completing the pro, uh, the poll. I’ll hand it back over to Chelsea.
Chelsea: Okay. Um, so this is a popular question. Are some summer opportunities better than others?
Um, I would say that objectively there is no one summer opportunity that is better than the next, but there may be an opportunity that is better for you. Um, and so what do we mean by that? Um, as you’re embarking on this college application process, you will hear the term “fit”. Um, schools are determining if [00:23:00] they’re, uh, if you’re gonna be a good fit for them.
You are determining if schools are a good fit for you. And the same thing applies to summer opportunities. What is going to be the best fit for you and what your goals are. Um, so finding the best fit opportunity requires you to be reflective. Um, so one, think about what’s your, do you know what your major is?
It is absolutely normal for you to not know what your major is that is going to shape the type of summer opportunity that you’re interested in. What colleges are you interested in? Um, do you already have a core list of schools that you know that you wanna apply to? Or are you in this exploratory phase?
Um, if you are exploring and kind of have no idea where to start on summer opportunities, I would, you know, say we need to get you on a college campus as soon as possible, just so that you can begin to get the feel, know what you like, know what you don’t like. Um, sometimes a [00:24:00] summer opportunity. Is just as much for you as it is for your college application.
So whether it’s determining if a major is right for you, if a school is right for you, um, if in a general environment or a region is right for you, summer opportunities can be very valuable in that sense. Um, I also want to talk about, um, kind of going after the summer opportunity at, let’s call it your dream.
Um, so I will use Cornell as an example because Cornell has a robust offering of summer program opportunities. Um, they do have an application process, but it is not highly competitive, not as competitive as their admissions process. Um, so for the most part, if you apply early, um, you, you know, have a good chance of being accepted and there is a fee attached to coming to that program.
Um, now for a student that is super interested in Cornell, they might think I have to attend a summer [00:25:00] program there because that’s going to look good on my college application and that’s gonna be helpful for me. Um, yes, it will look nice on your college application. Um, however, some of those programs are very, very large and they service hundreds of students each year, hundreds of students each semester.
And when you talk about selective institutions, a summer program alone is not what’s going to set you apart. Um, and so before I say go after a summer program at your number one school, Let’s think about your interest in your major. Um, maybe you are interested in architecture and there is not an architecture, uh, summer program at this number one school.
I would recommend that you go find an architecture summer program before just choosing any other program at the school that you wanna go to. Um, it’s about something that is a good fit for you and what [00:26:00] your interests are, and not necessarily trying to game application system or impress admissions officers.
Um, we want this to make sense within the context of your entire college admissions application. Um, one of the best ways to kind of find out what those best fit opportunities are is looking at your college applications so far. Now, I know many of you have not started, right? Um, but what are the elements that are going to make up that college application a year from now or two years from.
What’s your major? Um, what type of classes are you taking? What are you involved in at your high school? Um, where do you see gaps? Are there gaps in rigor on your transcript? Do you kind of need to beef up some of those apps or those honors courses? Are there gaps in leadership? Have you been a member in a lot of things but not necessarily a leader?
[00:27:00] Um, are there gaps in interest in your major? Um, are you a decided Political science major, but you haven’t really done anything on your resume or activities list to show that. Um, think about where those gaps are and think about the ways that you can leverage summer program opportunities to fill in those gaps.
Um, and that is the best way to find the program that’s the best for you, the opportunity that’s the best for you, and that is going to serve you best in the college admissions. So how are you able to showcase your summer activities on the college application? Um, there are so many ways that you can show these off.
Um, the most obvious one is the activities list. Um, you could submit a resume. You have essays where you’re able to talk about these programs in detail, talk about your experience, talk about a project that you [00:28:00] completed. Um, you could either use your personal essay or supplemental essays. Um, you can have a faculty member from one of your summer programs, or a boss from an internship write you a letter of recommendation that is super, super powerful. Um, or maybe you want to use some of the work that you’ve completed to put into a portfolio to really show your skills in your major. So really, every single area of your application, you can choose to highlight what you’ve done in the summer.
Um, and that is a really good way to beef up your application and just show that you’re a well-rounded person that had a lot going on in high school.
So how can you set yourself up for success for finding one of these opportunities, um, start looking early. Um, so kudos to all of you that are on this call, whether you are in ninth [00:29:00] grade or 12th grade. This is around the time summer opportunities, um, are being posted and advertised. So you are absolutely right on.
Um, take advantage of your network. And if you are assessing your network and you’re thinking, I don’t know who I can go to, um, then there are ways that you can be creative, um, to really reach outside of the people that, you know, to find some of those opportunities, um, be strategic. So, um, really assessing those gaps and, and deciding what’s best for you.
And then the last one, don’t overdo it. Um, you all have very busy academic years, um, and I am not suggesting that you make your summer. Just as busy as your academic year. Um, so I’ve, I’ve worked with students who have, um, tried to do three and four summer programs in a summer. Um, or they’re having an internship and they’re taking a class.
[00:30:00] Um, we don’t want you to spread yourself too thin over the summer, um, because that takes away some of the value of what we’re doing in the first place.
Anesha: Awesome. Thanks so much, Chelsea. Um, so again, we invite you to submit any questions that you have and follow up to all that Chelsea has presented, um, via the Q&A tab. Please do not send us chat messages. Please submit your questions via the Q&A tab. Um, and that is the end of the presentation portion of our webinar.
We’re going to jump in and the first question. I’m gonna go back to you, you kind of got it this a little bit, Chelsea, but wanting to give you a few more, add a spin to it. So the question is are, are there summer programs such as Harvard Summer School worth spending thousands of dollars on? Uh, but the thing I want you to focus on is will the credit hours offered as such programs be accepted in all universities?
So if they’re earning credits through some of these pre-college programs, what is the, the [00:31:00] transfer opportunities? Um, with credits.
Chelsea: Yeah, that’s a great question. Um, so, you know, let’s use Harvard as an example. Let’s say Harvard’s your number one school, um, and you complete a summer program there that’s for credit.
Obviously there is, um, high transferability at Harvard. Um, I. Argue. Um, and I don’t, I don’t know this to be a fact, but I would argue that you would also see some high transferability at other Ivy League institutions, um, from taking a summer program at Harvard. Now, I would not extend any confidence outside of Harvard and Ivy League institutions taking college credit.
Um, is always on the university that you’re taking it at and where you’re transferring to. Um, so it’s not that it’s a bad course, but you may be looking at, um, a summer program at a private liberal arts institution and wanting to transfer to, um, a [00:32:00] big public flagship in another state. Um, and there just may not be good transferability there.
Um, so one, I would say, if you’re looking at for credit programs, you should have another benefit of taking the program than just getting the college credit. Because nine times outta 10 you can get the college credit for much cheaper at a local college. Um, so you want the credits great, but you wanna also say, okay, being on this campus makes sense.
And even if I didn’t get any credit, taking this course or having this experience is going to make sense for my college application.
Anesha: thank you. Um, as folks submit questions, I just do wanna give the, the, I don’t know, nuance. We are not Google, so it would be helpful if you, you, if you have very specific niche questions of what should I do in this grade level for this specific, um, career path. It’s a little bit harder for us to give that kind of specificity.
So [00:33:00] please try to keep your questions broader. Um, and if you, if you do have something like that, again, we, we we’re not gonna go through and, and list all the resources or list all of the programs. So, um, again, we’re trying to give context and a little bit of advice. Uh, one question. Uh, the next question was, um, the student shared that she usually works during the summer, so she was wondering what else she could do to broaden her opportunities related to her field, given that, you know, her summers might be taken with, uh, her part-time job.
Chelsea: Yeah, absolutely. Um, so you could look at doing, um, a dual enrollment course online at a local college, um, maybe in an elective area or, um, some extension of the curriculum that you have at your high school. Um, that could be something worthwhile depending on what your interests are, this is easier for some fields and not so easy for others, but some sort of self-guided project, um, that allows you to [00:34:00] complete something after work in the evenings or on the weekends.
Um, but that you’re not having these like really demanding deadlines in order to push it through. Um, there’s also some of the summer programs that I have mentioned are as short as a week. So maybe look at taking a week off of work, um, and going away to a program and coming back. Um, that can be something that could be pretty significant for your summer, but you’re not having to devote just a ton of time to it.
So I think there’s a lot of things that you can do, um, with limited time in the summer.
Anesha: Great question. Um, I wanted to ask, so there have been a lot of questions specific to, or a couple of questions specific to niche things, but I know that there is some, uh, variety of opportunities students can pursue.
So I was wondering if you could speak to the question, what would you recommend for folks who are interested in healthcare, what type of summer opportunities might it be worthwhile for them to explore?
Chelsea: Yeah. So there are, um, there are a [00:35:00] number of pre-college programs on college campuses that focused on pre-health, um, or medical fields.
Um, so one you could do that. Um, I think a lot of the, uh, students with interest in the health sciences or medicine, um, kind of that really practical experience, and I hear that they have a hard time finding that practical experience. Um, COVID has also, um, really been a barrier. Um, a lot of high schools used to have in-person high school volunteer programs in the summer, um, and internships that you can apply for.
Um, I know last summer, um, or as recent as last summer, those, those opportunities were still pretty few and far in between. Um, I can say that I think this year, um, a lot of the summer opportunities that had been virtual for the past few years, this is finally a time where a lot of those seem to be coming back in person.
Um, [00:36:00] so I would check with your local high school. Um, I would also check with high school, um, organizations that have a national, um, national presence, um, and see what resources they would have as well.
Anesha: Thank you. Um, the next question, which I think is interesting is related to, I guess, mode of the opportunity. So this person specifically asked, does it look better to do an internship, virtual or online versus in-person?
I don’t know if you have thoughts on the changing modality of summer opportunities given, uh, the pandemic and shifting availability.
Chelsea: Yeah. Um, I don’t necessarily think one looks better than the other, and in fact there are, you know, oftentimes where we’re looking at an opportunity and we don’t actually know that it’s virtual or, or in person.
Um, and so I think that’s just up to you. Um, I think virtual opportunities do now [00:37:00] offer some, some real flexibility for students, which is a great thing for access. Um, I think as a person we feel more in person. Um, so you may get more value from that personally, but I don’t think colleges, um, really see a difference in the two.
Anesha: Um, okay. This is a, I guess a combo question on combining two questions. So one student asks, would a free for credit pre-college program at community college still be a good opportunity? And then I’m combining that with free summer programs. So if you could speak to some of the, the quality, I guess, or, or your awareness of programs where they may not have to pay in order to participate, especially for folks who might be low income, are they still gonna have the same weight, um, as programs where you might be paying a lot to attend?
Chelsea: Yeah, good question. Um, so, so one, there are free opportunities out there. So I, I just wanna say there’s free opportunities out there and there’s [00:38:00] opportunities that, um, typically have a price associated with it that do have scholarships available.
So if you are a low, low income student, or you’re concerned about the financial aspect, there are things that you can do, um, that don’t allow you or, or don’t require you to have to pay a lot of money to participate. Um, I would say a pre-college program at community college that is free is absolutely better than nothing.
It just is hands down. Um, it is you taking the initiative, um, you seeking out an experience. Um, and I think I’m not familiar with the program that you’re speaking of, but I’m sure, um, that you are able to get something significant from that program. Um, so I would absolutely say yes. Also, keep in mind you have three summers, right?
Um, so you have three summers throughout your high school career to take advantage of. Um, and so that may be great for one summer, and then you can look at how you might do something [00:39:00] differently. The next summer. Um, I, I wanna be clear about, um, you know, what, what programs hold weight? Yes. These programs that are attached to great schools that are highly ranked, they sound great, but more often than not, you are paying money to go there and that it is not because you are the most competitive person that applied, it’s just because you applied and are able to register. And colleges know that. So we want to make sure that, um, the opportunity is meaningful for you. Um, and for some students, they will go to for really expensive pre-college programs over their time.
I, I think that might be a little too obvious and a little too easy. Um, there’s way more interesting things that you can do each summer than just sign up for a [00:40:00] program and go for two weeks or four weeks. So if we look back at that, um, example that I shared about what that progression can look like, that is more of a healthy mix of maximizing your summers than just saying, Hey, I’m gonna spend a lot of money to go to X program and X school.
Anesha: So I guess speaking a little bit to volume, and I, I have a feeling I know your answer to this, but I’m gonna ask it anyway. Uh, for any given summer, is it better to focus on one really solid opportunity or is it okay for students, or would you recommend the students mix it up? Have two or three for any given summer, um, is the, I guess, intensity or longevity of any given, uh, summer opportunity uh, valuable or how is it valued?
Chelsea: Yeah, so it depends. Um, I don’t think the goal of summer opportunities is, let’s see how busy you can get. Um, because you are still a student and this is still a break. This is your break from your academic year. [00:41:00] Um, and so to me, anything over I would say 60% of your free time in the summer might begin to be, you know, a lot for a summer.
Um, especially when you’re taking on multiple opportunities that span the duration of the summer, the good things, most of the things that we’re talking about will be for the month of June or two weeks in July. Um, so there’s some time in between that you can kind of reset. Um, but I don’t think that it is wise for your mental health and your time to pack all these opportunities into a three month period.
Um, and particularly for those of you who are like, this is my final summer. Right. Um, I’m about to apply for colleges next year. This is all I have. I wanna do this, this, that, and that. Um, I would rather see in that [00:42:00] situation one dynamic opportunity. Or two really strong opportunities that still leave you space to reflect and, um, take in the experience because once you’re so busy, you’re kind of just checking off the boxes.
Like, yeah, I showed up at this class and I did this assignment, and um, then I had to go to my internship. You’re not really having a beneficial experience if like you’re working a full-time job all summer.
Anesha: Yeah, that makes sense. I guess that raises a question for me that I have that I’ll ask selfishly, but um, I’m thinking about my students who like to write about their summer opportunities and so, um, I guess I’m wondering, or do you have advice.
On how students can effectively leverage those summer opportunities if they’re choosing to write about it. Um, and are there, yeah, I guess my question’s not as well thought out, but you know, would you advise that [00:43:00] students should be using that for should be using those opportunities for a topic within their personal statements or for supplemental essays?
Um, or, and also I guess how reflect during those opportunities in order to effectively integrate them into their, um, into their essay. Sorry, that was a jumbled question. I hope you can, it’s OK .
Chelsea: Um, yeah, no, I, I absolutely think, um, writing about those opportunities, um, is recommended. Um, There’s so many ways that you can do that in your personal essay or supplemental essay.
Um, my advice there is to, um, really think about what you got from the opportunity, um, and, and try to kind of focus in on one specific element of the opportunity, or if there was some takeaway that was really, really meaningful. to focus on that specific takeaway. Um, we don’t necessarily need a narrative essay of everything that you did for that summer program.
[00:44:00] Um, we kind of get a sense of that in the activities list of their programs we’re familiar with. We’ll get a sense of that. The essay is the opportunity again, to be reflective and say, this is how it shaped me. Um, this is what, uh, I changed my mind about. I came into the summer opportunity thinking this, and now I’m think that. Um, so it’s a, it’s a great opportunity to show growth as a student. Um, one of the ways that you can document that throughout your summer opportunity is, um, simply through journaling. Um, right. So like, if, you know, I wanna use this as content for my college application. These are some of the things that I’m going through throughout the program, um, throughout the class, the internship.
These are the questions I have, so really taking notes, um, and, and being reflective on what you’re thinking, learning and feeling throughout the summer opportunity.
Anesha: Thank you for sharing that. I think that’s really, really, uh, great advice to, to step back and [00:45:00] reflect. And I think to your point of not doing too much during the summer, we’ll give you the opportunity to have those periods for reflection and juggling.
Um, I’m gonna stop really briefly and give a quick PSA for those who, uh, in are in the room who aren’t currently working with us. So we know that there are a lot of components to the college application are a lot of considerations that you all wanna be thoughtful about. In our team of over 300 former admissions officers and admissions experts are ready to help you and your family navigate the process through one-on-one advising sessions.
So you can take the next step in your college admissions journey by signing up for a free 45 to 60 minute strategy session with an specialist on our team, you can use the QR code that’s on the screen, and during that meeting we’ll review your extracurricular list, your application strategy and discuss how everything aligns with your potential college list, and share some tools that you’ll need to stand out in the admissions world.
So some folks who are asking those questions are like, what are specific programs? If I wanna do this, this, or that, um, that admissions, that advising session might be helpful for you. All right. Gonna. Keep it pushing [00:46:00] forward with the Q&A. The next question that I had was related to, um, again, paying for some of these opportunities.
So are, are you aware of, or are, you know, are you familiar with the types of programs where students can possibly be making money or would you just suggest that they find jobs above of that? And an addendum that I’m adding out to that is other scholarships or grants for summer opportunities available as well.
Chelsea: Yes. So finding summer opportunities are paying you maybe an ambitious feat. Um, there’s some out there, so you may find some research opportunities that have a stipend. Um, but anything that’s paying you, you know, for a high school student is going to be incredibly competitive. Um, both for a research opportunity as well as, um, an internship.
Um, one of the reasons you don’t see quite as much as there’s a lot of liability, um, that companies and schools [00:47:00] take on with hosting high school students and minors. Um, and so sometimes it’s just not advantageous for them to also be paying, um, those high school students. Um, however, paid internships are absolutely possible.
Um, like I said, many of the ones that I’ve been familiar with over the years were at hospitals. Um, that is absolutely something I see students that want to, um, go to law school interning, um, getting a paid internship at a, at a law office. Um, working in a law office and just kind of, um, you know, being able to listen and soak in what’s going on.
So those are opportunities that you might find that are paid. Um, and then, there are external grants and external scholarships that offer students funding for summer opportunities. Um, so I have heard of high school districts offering that, um, specific high schools, typically private high schools may [00:48:00] have some sort of fund that students can apply for to fund some of their summer opportunities.
So I would start with asking for your counselor, um, asking your counselor, are they aware of anything at the school or in the community like that? Um, outside of your high school or your community? There are many community-based organizations and nonprofit organizations that offer scholarships for students to attend summer programs.
Um, so again, I would search, um, scholarships for summer programs, grants for summer programs, um, and you’ll see some of those opportunities.
Anesha: You just triggered something or reminded me of, of a, of a, I guess, strategy also for fundraising or self-fundraising that, um, in my day job, I work at a, a nonprofit organization that works with student low income students.
And one of the strategies that some of our students have used is using like creating a GoFundMe page and fundraising that way. And then they promise to share, you know, resources [00:49:00] with, um, the folks who donate for them. So, you know, if you donate $50. I promise to send you like a postcard or some knickknack or something from, um, you know, if they travel abroad or do a trip or something like that.
So that might also be a creative way of engaging your broader community and, and collecting resources to help you, um, participate in some of these opportunities that require funding that you may not have or that your families may not have readily available. So getting creative, gen Z, I don’t know. Um, and thinking about ways you can leverage your online community to support your online resource that way as well. Absolutely. Um, I wanted to ask, uh, this next question, which was, is working during the summer going to stop me from receiving any scholarships? So it’s a little bit of a combo summer financial aid question, but if you could speak to how perhaps part-time jobs impact or influence the financial aid process or the application process?
No, I would say, um, the, the short answer is no. Um, the, the long answer is that if [00:50:00] you are working significantly and you end up filing taxes as a minor, um, then, um, whatever you claim on your taxes would be a part of FAFSA. Um, your financial aid application for federal aid, um, most scholarships. That are tied to summer programs are not requiring you to fill out a FAFSA, though they may ask for your parents’ income.
They may ask for a pay stub or tax returns from your parents, but they’re not asking you to fill out an entire FAFSA application. Um, a lot of them are going off of free or reduced lunch status. Um, so they’re using other measures to determine whether you’re scholarship worthy, um, typically part-time work in high school.
Again, like I said, unless you are, you know, making some significant amount of money, that is not going to sway the income of a student who would otherwise be low income or deserving of the scholarship. [00:51:00] Yeah.
Anesha: Thanks. Um, so again, some folks have, uh, continued to ask about healthcare and so I’ll summarize the question of like, types of summer opportunities you might want to explore for healthcare.
If you are applying to pre-med programs or B S M D programs, you wanna look into shadowing, working at internships, you want to perhaps look at research or supporting the research of someone else. Um, and I think I also have seen some students who are working as sports trainers, are they, you know, shadow the, the coach or, or, or the medic at their high schools who are supporting athletes and things like that.
Um, do you have any other, I guess, specific types of opportunities that folks who are interested in healthcare should be looking at? Not necessarily specific programs, but the types of programs they should be looking at.
Chelsea: Um, so I will name ones. Specific, um, through HOSA, um, Health Occupation Students of America.
They have a pretty competitive, um, summer program that’s [00:52:00] residential. Um, I’m not sure if there’s a cost with it. Um, sometimes for those types of organizations, if they’re competitive, um, it may be something that’s funded through you, you know, actually being selected. Um, but that’s certainly, um, a program that is well received and, and going to look good on your, your application. Um, I think outside of that, just more generally, so, so one in the healthcare field, you may not be able to get a specialized as your major or what your interest is. So I saw someone asking about, um, I wanna be a surgeon. You may not be able to find opportunities that niche in high school, so it may have to be a little bit more broad or adjacent.
So maybe focusing on a research component or working in a lab component. Um, you mentioned, you know, horse training, veterinary science, sometimes there’s kind of lower entryway into some of those [00:53:00] internships. Mm-hmm. Um, so be a bit more broad, um, as you are thinking about what makes sense for me as someone who wants to go into medicine in the future.
Um, but again, there are many, many opportunities out there. I just encourage you to kind of search and begin finding out which ones exist, and which would be the best for you.
Anesha: And I did drop the link for HOSA in the chat for folks who wanted to find out more about that as an opportunity. All right.
And I was also going to suggest potentially if you have the resources to attend conferences or things like that, like I know that there are some things with IBB, uh, the international bravery that happened over the summer or trainings. You can do that again, show that you’re interested in sciences and, and are working to pursue it in the ways that are available to you.
Even if it’s not necessarily working with a doctor, but you’re pursuing that knowledge. [00:54:00] Um, uh, one question was volunteering versus paid opportunities. Does it look better if I do more volunteering rather than getting a job?
Chelsea: Um, it depends on you and it depends on the college that you’re, that you’re applying for.
Um, so let’s say you are. Um, interested in a school whose mission is rooted in community service, um, then it may look great to volunteer for that specific school. Um, you may be applying or interested in a college whose website mission statement says nothing about community service at all. Um, then those admissions officers are less likely to be looking for service involvement on your college admissions application.
Um, so I would say, does not matter. Um, it’s completely up to the person. Um, but I also, if you know what colleges you’re interested in, I um, encourage [00:55:00] you to look through their mission and value statement. Um, every college has a page dedicated to those two things. That is a great way to quickly understand what they care about.
Anesha: I really like that. And if someone asked a question that I didn’t raise earlier, but they were asking for guidance on college research, and so I wanna reiterate that of looking at college mission statements, value statements, and then also, at least for my organization or with some of my students, we do a values exercise. So helping this student identify their values, um, and writing those down and then using that as a resource as well, um, as you were researching colleges. So, sorry, I just wanted to build off of that, that bridge that I saw in, in the advice that you were giving. Um, I lost my other question.
Oh goodness. I’m so sorry. Um, well, someone was, someone asked earlier, um, and I, I think you spoke to this, but I’ll ask it again [00:56:00] anyway, um, about what should one goal be when looking at summer opportunities? Should they be focusing on their passion? Should they be focusing on their majors? Should they be focusing on, um, I don’t even know.
What should they be considering when they decide to apply to these summer opportunities?
Chelsea: Yeah, I mean, I think you should be considering all of those things that you just mentioned. Um, now, once you do this self-reflection of the activities that you’ve already participated in, the achievements you already have, um, then you can find out what might need raising up or what might need, you know, more experience or elaboration.
Um, because you will find those gaps in your college application. You’ll look back and say, oh, you know, I wish I would’ve done more of this, or I wish I was able to experience this. Those are the things that you want to think of when you’re choosing the summer opportunities for you. [00:57:00] Um, so I would say focus on all of those things, but the way that you know is that you have to reflect on.
What school do I wanna go to? What is a major that I would be interested in, and how much of what I’ve already done is preparing me or has prepared me for that ultimate goal? If you feel like there’s some gaps between where you are and where you wanna be, then the summer programs or the summer opportunities or where you can make that at.
Anesha: and I think, yeah, one student wasn’t sure what she wanted to major in. So again, taking advantage of the fact that you have those three summers, you have multiple summers. Maybe it’s looking at exploring one specifc major, one summer, looking at a different one the next summer. And I, I don’t, I don’t think, or correct me if I’m wrong, Chelsea, that colleges would fault you if they see you trying out different things over the summer, over your various summers, um, during high school?
Chelsea: No. Not at all. I mean, I think if anything that looks better than just doing the [00:58:00] exact same thing over and over.
Anesha: Um, this is an outlier question, but I think an interesting one to ask anyway, but for the college application, should I talk about some opportunities that I applied to but wasn’t accepted to just to show my attempts and my interest?
Chelsea: Um, so if you were able to secure another summer opportunity. So like, let’s say you applied to five, you got denied from four, but one worked out and you did one. I don’t think you need to say that. You know, I, I was interested in all these other opportunities. Um, however, if you seek out summer programs and for whatever reason are unsuccessful getting anything than I would in my additional information on the common application, um, say.
I was really seeking out these summer experiences, but I had some challenges. These are the challenges and these are why I wasn’t able, this is why I wasn’t able [00:59:00] to maximize my summers.
Anesha: All right. Well I appreciate all of your insights. Chelsea. We are going to leave it there. That is the end of our webinar tonight.
We thank you so much for joining us and thank you, Chelsea for all of your wisdom and thoughtfulness tonight. We do hope you gained some tips and strategies for exploring some of our opportunities and we hope that you’ll join us for our future webinars for the rest of this month. We have two sessions in January focused on advice from admissions officers, so more folks like Chelsea on January 18th. They will share insights on starting your application early. So, for those juniors and sophomores in this space, definitely join us on the 18th and on January 24th, they will share application tips for parents. So, if anyone’s parents are out there looking for additional support, join us on the 24th.
We hope to see you soon. But until next time, have a great evening everyone, and thanks again, Chelsea, for your time today.
Chelsea: Thanks everyone. See you soon.