Boost Your College Acceptance Odds: Summer Programs

You may not be in school for the summer, but did you know you can absolutely use your summer vacation to help with your college acceptance odds? There are plenty of activities you can do during this “off season” that will look great on college applications. So, what summer programs look best for college?

Check out this webinar with Meg Mahoney, AKA The College Doula as she discusses the best way to use your summer break!

What summer programs look best for college


Something that looks amazing on college applications is volunteer work! And the summer – when you have plenty of free time – is the perfect time to do it.

There are likely more places to volunteer than you think, too. To decide on a location, think about your interests and your goals for college and after. You may find some that are right up your alley. Some ideas:

  • Soup kitchen
  • National or state parks
  • Homeless shelters
  • Disaster relief organizations
  • Animal shelters
  • Library
  • Camps
  • Parks and recreation
  • Habitat for Humanity
  • YMCA
  • Retirement homes

There are also plenty of volunteer opportunities online. You could volunteer to transcribe genealogy documents, for example, through a number of organizations.

Study for the SAT/ACT

 It’s likely you have an SAT or ACT on the horizon. The ACT and SAT aren’t like other tests – you can’t cram them the night before. Studying is essential to doing well on the exam, and your summer comes with plenty of free time.

To study for these tests, you need to take practice exams, identify your weak and strong areas, and work on your weaker areas to hit your goal. When taking the practice exam, you should be working to make it as close to the real deal as possible. That means no distractions, no flipping pages, and no changing answers. You should also be taking advantage of online resources to help your efforts.

Join a Summer Camp

Summer camps aren’t just for younger kids! They actually offer a number of benefits to students of all ages. Some are dedicated to sports while others are dedicated to interests like drama, STEM, or other areas of study. There are also, of course, camps that are more about hiking, camping, and the wilderness. It’s likely you can find focused camps, away from home camps, day camps, half day camps, and even camps that go abroad in your area or nearby.

These camps provide you not only with experience in an area of interest, but they also provide extraordinary experiences. You can become a better leader, learn more about responsibility and resilience, and improve your social skills. All things colleges want to see. And who knows – you may even come out with a great topic for your college or scholarship essays!

You should absolutely be taking time for you this summer – you deserve it after the hard work you’ve put into the past year. But that doesn’t mean you should entirely forget about your education. Put a little work into your college prep this season and it will pay off big time.

Did you know that some scholarships depend on your activities outside of school, too? You could find some awards (and free money if you win) that require volunteer work or other extracurriculars to enter. Find some here.



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