2 Answers

Jon Semcer Points0
It depends on the activity and how it either relates to what you do during the school year or a  talent. For example,  athletes might be  involved in summer camps, show cases, leagues and training and how little time for other activities. A student who is looking to major in drama/  acting  and is involved in the school's drama club is demonstrating a commitment to that talent or activity. Summers that are used for academic enrichment such as college classes, overseas trips with large organized groups, or spending six weeks on a college /university campus taking SAT prep course, an academic class and cultural field trips are questionable in terms of  developing a personal skill or experiencing a new growth in your character. College admission staff members know  that the organized camp and the overseas trips all cost money and while those activities look good and kids have a great time they were able to go because of economic resources. The student who worked at a soup kitchen, a hospital,  a day care center, as a volunteer at a nursing home or who  had there own small summer business is revealing so much more about their character, goals, willingness to give to others and will have learned much about themselves. Summer should be a time to do something that you can not do doing the school year, something that truly interest you and not an activity you think will impress someone.  Always be true to yourself. Everyone will have , perhaps, a different view of how the summer should  be used, but admission staff know the benefits of volunteer work, working, and continuing an interest that has its roots in the school year.
Janice Kirn-Sottilaro Points0
I think that colleges weigh what students do during the summer only if a student, brings up not only what they did but, what they gained as a result of their participation. It is well known that sharing with colleges that you traveled to another country and worked with Habitat for Humanity or stayed home and volunteered at the state food bank is not generally what they are looking for. On the other hand, if you can explain what you gained from your experience then yes, that summer activity can impact your application. For example - a former client of mine had traveled to Costa Rica and spent 3 weeks working on a construction site helping to build homes for the truly poor in a particular region of the country. When he wrote his essay for the common app. he shared in the first paragraph where he had traveled to, with what volunteer agency he had worked and, stated that he had helped to build homes for the poor. That was his introduction. The remainder of his essay spoke to what he had learned: "As soon as I landed back in Jersey I could feel it. I could feel the difference. I was changed." (I will use the name Tom for example) Tom spoke in his essay of how he came to enjoy eating meals together, preparing meals together, listening to the radio together instead of watching tv in his room, of singing and dancing. "I never knew what it meant to participate in life until I went to Costa Rica.....I went to help and came home forever changed.....my friends have expensive cars, I asked my parents for a used car...I went to Costa Rica the summer between freshman and sophomore year but even now as a senior, I still have flip phone that's 3 years old...some things are just more important to me now..." We can see here how this one summer activity impacted Tom and how he was able to share that through his essay so, when selecting a summer activity, be excited not only for what you will do but for what you will gain and then, share! Good Luck!

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