When my junior year started, I found that my summer had been vastly different than that of my friends. While I had spent time in Mexico with my grandparents, most of them had attended summer programs sponsored by different universities, some even around the world. Many told me how these programs were good for their college résumés. I was surprised: where I come from, these summer camps weren’t an option. I felt like I was missing a vital experience on my way to college.
As junior year came to an end, I started searching for summer camps that I could attend so I could also fill up my college résumé. I applied to multiple programs and impatiently waited for the results. But they came with an unexpected twist: a huge price tag. Most camps that are sponsored by colleges and organizations come with high prices, not to just cover the cost of the classes but because they are associated with a prestigious name. And while many camps offer scholarships and other financial aid, these didn’t cover enough for me, as most don’t offer full scholarships. My family is middle class. We are not lacking any day-to-day necessities, but expenses of over $1,000 for a weeklong camp are not feasible.
While it was hard for me to understand at first, I found there are many other opportunities to spend your summer doing something productive that will still be recognized by colleges when it’s time to apply. Here are five résumé-worthy things you can do in the summer if you can’t go to an expensive college camp.
1. Get a summer job
Not only will you be able to get some side cash, but many colleges appreciate students who work during the summers or the school years. Having a job will show you’re responsible and hardworking.
2. Volunteer for local charities
Local charities are always on the lookout for volunteers. By offering your time, you will be able to help people and create an impact on society.
3. Volunteer for local kids’ programs
Many charities, schools, and companies (such as the YMCA or the local library) hold summer programs for younger children and are always on the lookout for teenagers to help out.
4. Take a class
Many schools offer students the opportunity to go to summer school to get ahead with the credits they need to graduate. Some even have partnerships with community colleges that allow students to start taking college courses. Apart from school-related educational opportunities, there are many classes offered during the summer at community centers, libraries, and other places for people to learn anything from new languages to coding to baking. These classes are usually offered at a moderate price and may offer a summer discount.
Over the summer, your time is limitless: there are no projects or homework to turn in the next day. Take advantage of this and start creating! Summer is the perfect time to get started on that vlog or website you’ve always wanted to do, and it will give you enough time to build an online presence that you can include on your résumé.