Make the most of summer vacations

Make the most of summer vacations

After a stressful exam season, students tend to unwind during summer vacations. However, those aspiring to get into top, global universities for their bachelor’s degree can spend their vacations more productively. Most international institutions focus not only on test scores and academic transcripts but also on extracurricular engagements. In order to stand out in the applicant pool, a holistic profile is required.

Students from Classes 8 through 12 can use their time wisely by engaging in the following activities: 

Summer programmes: Students can spend their summer break effectively by attending a summer programme. Students may opt for a course on the subject of one’s interest. While some programmes are more academic, others focus on leadership, communication, music, sport, art and languages. 

Attending a summer programme can benefit students by exposing them to new subjects areas while allowing them to experience campus life and explore a new city. It also gives students an edge during university admissions.

Supplementary online courses: Many global universities offer online courses, allowing students to deepen their knowledge in known subjects and explore new topics. Taking these courses can help students choose the right subjects in school. For instance, some universities offer Introduction to Psychology courses. For a student who hasn’t had the chance to study psychology in school, this can be a crucial factor in making the decision to pursue psychology in college. In addition, there are many online learning platforms that offer courses from multiple universities.  

Research projects: Research projects are a great way for students to demonstrate their interest in a particular subject. For example, rather than simply learning coding languages, students who enjoy Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) subjects should apply that knowledge by developing an app or by contributing to enhance an existing product or service. This can help admissions officers see that the student has taken initiative and applied their knowledge beyond the classroom.  

Internships: When looking at internships, students and parents tend to focus more on the brand name rather than the responsibility assigned. It is important to remember what the students do is more important than where they do it. Along with this, students should be able to articulate their learning in their university application. An internship can also help students identify their area of professional interest. 

Keeping in mind the student’s age, it can be difficult for them to secure meaningful internships on their own. Therefore, parents should use their personal network to avail internships that add value. 

Community service: This is an extremely meaningful way for students to spend their summer. However, students should only engage in community service if this is something that truly interests them. Students can also combine their community service with another interest. For example, if a student is interested in learning how they can combine their passion and help the community.  

Academic test preparation: Summer vacations are the best time to work on standardised testing strategy. Academically motivated students can spend their time preparing for other opportunities such as National and International Olympiads or other examinations such as the American Mathematics Challenge. Some colleges specifically ask students if they have taken such exams in their application form.

Students shouldn’t try and ‘tick all the boxes’, but spend their time outside the classroom pursuing two to three activities that they genuinely enjoy. They should aim to continue growing and learning as they spend more time doing those activities.  

(The author is with The Red Pen)