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Junior Toolkit

Section 6: Summer Planning

“ What we care about is that students have done something that means something to them. It’s not a good idea to engage in something because the student or family believes it will augment their ability to get in. ”

- Richard Shaw, Stanford

How college admissions officers view your summer activities.

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How should I spend my summer?

Colleges will want to know how you spend your summers during high school, but that doesn’t mean that every day has to be planned with them in mind. Plan something meaningful. It doesn’t have to cost money or take place in a foreign land; it just needs to be something you’d be proud of talking about or reflecting on. What you do during your summers does matter, but it also matters that you take time to recover, relax and rejuvenate. Read books, engage in hobbies, or volunteer for things that really matter to you.

Some of the questions answered in this section's video:

What sort of summer activities will look best on my college résumé?

What if I have to spend my summer babysitting my siblings while my parents are at work?

Should I get a summer job?


Video: Summer Planning (3:17)

The most important thing to remember:

  • Your summer plans should be tailored to your own interests, and they should make sense in the context of the rest of your application. Don’t try to cram your summer with activities that don’t matter to you; spend these months expanding on the genuine interests you are already pursuing.
  • Also, during the summer before your senior year, you should set aside time to begin writing your college essays.


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Other Sections in the Junior Toolkit: