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How to Make the Most Out of Your Summer Break

Boy Jumping out of the OceanSoon-to-be Seniors (and Juniors): We’re smack dab in the middle of summer, and now that you’ve soaked up some sun and clocked in plenty of R&R, it’s time to maximize your free time to its fullest.

While you’ve been rightfully savoring your vacation days, you don’t want to leave your mind rusty or completely fall behind on college planning. Once you’re required to again wake up at 7am each day and deal with classes on top of tedious homework assignments, your brain will most likely feel too burnt out to even consider college planning. With over a month still ahead of you, there’s plenty of time to space out activities that will exercise your mind muscles and get you one step ahead of the college planning process.

  • Indulge Yourself in a Few Books

    No, we’re not suggesting any lengthy Charles Dickens’ novels. You’ll get to those in English class (if you haven’t already), unless that’s your cup of tea, then go for it. If you aren’t an avid reader or classic literature enthusiast, try one that’ll give you some food for thought as you prepare for college, such as these listed on Washington Post’s “A Summer Reading List from College Admissions Counselors:

o   “How to Be a High School Superstar: A Revolutionary Plan to Get into College by Standing Out (Without Burning Out)” by Cal Newport

o   “Going Geek: what every smart kid (and every smart parent) should know about college admission” by John Carpenter.

o   “Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation” By Parker Palmer

Then relax with a light-hearted love story or a unique, thought-provoking tale:

o   “The Opposite of Loneliness” by Marina Keegan

o   “The Guilty One” by Lisa Ballantyne

o   “The Botany of Desire: A Plant’s-Eye View of the World” by Michael Pollan

o   “Endurance: Shackelton’s Incredible Voyage” by Alfred Lansing
Want a few more suggestions? Check out the books listed on NerdWallet’sFavorite 2014 Summer Reading Programs.

  • Volunteer

    Take a minute to think about your deepest passions and interests. Feeding the homeless? Caring for the elderly? Whatever drives you, there’s likely a volunteering option that’ll boost your community as well as strengthen your inner spirit… and not to mention, your resume!

    Not sure where to start? VolunteerMatch customizes your search options by region and category (Advocacy & Human Rights, Animals, Children & Youth, and so forth).

  • Spruce Up Your Activities Resume

    Speaking of resumes, summer offers a great opportunity to not only build your activities resume, but also tally your current and past work. It’s very similar to a job-oriented resume: past history, skills, utilizing action words, but with less detail. It’s a quick way to show off your experience and passions.

You deservingly will relish in the splendor of 5-6 weeks school-free, but also think of summer as an open opportunity to mix relaxation with improving your skills and adding to your repertoire. It’ll not only strengthen your personal life, but also solidify your path to college.

This blog was provided by Westface College Planning. For more tips and information, sign up for a free College Funding workshop or webinar or call us at (650) 587-1559.

Photo Credit: Dmitry Kichenko


Stimulate Your Mind — Take a Summer Program!

SunflowerWith summer just around the corner, high school students may first bask in the glow of three months away from the stress of school.  Once that subsides, particularly for ambitious students, they’ll wonder if any options exist to keep their mind stimulated, prepare them for their future careers or possibly explore avenues they have yet opted to tread.  So what’s the answer?  Summer programs and internships!

Science? Art? Communications? There’s a Program for All of Them!

For our California pupils, here are a few opportunities orchestrated by colleges over the summer, extracted from the Los Altos High School’s College and Career Center that may interest them:

Academy of Art College in San Francisco
“Six-week intensive art program offers up to four classes either online or onsite in San Francisco. Get a glimpse into college life, meet other young artists and explore a variety of art & design fields. Note: Students staying in Campus Housing must take four on campus classes.”

COSMOS (California State Summer School for Math and Science)
UC Davis, UC Irvine, UC San Diego and UC Santa Cruz

“Cosmos is a four week residential academic experience in math, science and engineering for top high school students. Students can participate in one of the many clusters of the COSMOS program at any of the above UC campuses. Some sample clusters are Under the Sea: Exploring Marine Organisms and Their World, Aerospace & Mechanical Engineering: Robots and Flying Machines, Medical & Veterinary Responses to Infectious Diseases, and Environmental Sciences and Experimental Ecology.

Students apply to one of the four University of California’s COSMOS campuses. — UC Davis, UC Irvine, UC San Diego and UC Santa Cruz. Each campus may have a different focus.”

Digital Media Academy
“For grades 10 – 12.  Hands-on, project-based digital media, filmmaking and visual effects, music and audio production, photography and art design, programming and app design and robotics courses at twenty university locations, including Stanford University, University of Texas, South Carolina and San Diego.

Internship programs are also available, including:

Stanford Institutes of Medicine Summer Research Program
Palo Alto, CA

“An 8-week summer internship program open to high school juniors and seniors. Hands-on research under guidance of a one-on-one mentor. Choose from immunology, stem cell biology, neurobiology, cardiovascular medicine and cancer biology.”

J. Craig Venter Institute Internship Program
San Diego, CA

“Offers motivated high school students the opportunity to nurture their interest in science by participating in cutting-edge genomic research at the Institute. Interns are assigned to a mentor who is a member of the Institute’s faculty or senior staff. Each experience is tailored to the participant’s education level and capabilities. Interns are required to present a summary of their research/work experience to the staff at the conclusion of their internship.

There are also administrative internships available in legal, communications, library and environmental health and safety areas.”

ZOMA Worldwide
Palo Alto, CA

“An international internship program for high school students based in various industries in Shanghai, China. Must have completed sophomore you and have strong academic records and proven leadership abilities. Chinese language is not required by students enrolled in Chinese language coursework is preferred. Internships are available in the areas of high tech, marketing, public relations, advertising, law travel and hospitality and architecture. Bilingual resident assistants are on-site 24 hours for supervision and assistance.”

For a full list of both programs and internships alike, click here.

For juniors and seniors, summer programs aren’t the only way to best optimize your vacation: Schedule a time to take the SAT and ACT, e-mail your favorite teachers to request letters of recommendation and continue to whittle down your list of college choices.  In-between R&R, the possibilities to flesh out your student’s summer 2014 are limitless.

This blog was provided by Westface College Planning. For more tips and information, sign up for a free College Funding workshop or webinar or call us at (650) 587-1559.

 

Photo Credit: Matteo Angelino