Categorized | Features

How to spend your summer: academics

By: Hannah Lam 

Being in a rush to get things in for college can be stressful and make you feel like you’re not in control, but there are many ways you can spend your summer focusing on academics. According to the National Administration for College Admission Counseling, the top things that colleges look for in applications are strength of curriculum, admission test scores, and your overall grades. Applications depend upon what type of school you want to attend. Larger colleges look for numbers like SAT scores, but smaller schools may take writing samples, project samples, and personal videos, the newest thing they are accepting. Videos can show something that you are interested in or just be more about you. Larger schools may not accept personal videos because they have so many applications coming in that they don’t have time to watch them.

Some colleges look at volunteer work you have done, but volunteering isn’t just to put on college applications. It’s also a great way to give back to your community. When looking for somewhere to volunteer, look for something you would enjoy doing.  In the Augusta County and Waynesboro area, there are many places you can volunteer, including the YMCA, SPCA, Boys and Girls Club, and Augusta Health. In all these places there are online volunteer applications available and information on what volunteers do. There are many opportunities to volunteer through school. You could join a club that works to give back to the community or just works towards a common goal of volunteering.

Picking a college is a difficult thing to do. “Definitely doing research, looking at your options, doing some good soul searching for what’s best for you, and talking to students who go or have gone there,” is advice from Mr. Matt Bailey, WHS counselor. But the biggest one is to get out there and visit the campuses. You may like the way in looks in a brochure, but you may not like it once you get there.   

Now that you know how to apply to college, let’s talk about how you may be able to pay for it. When applying to colleges you can apply for scholarships. Scholarships are given for a number of reasons including merit (academic achievement) and financial need. Bailey said that being scared to go to college or procrastinating can sometimes hurt students financially because they don’t apply early so they miss out on opportunities. “ Apply for as many scholarships as you can because there is free money everywhere,” is advice from senior Jordan Lam. Classes that you need to take may fill up, leaving no space for you to take them and you may miss out on scholarships.” The sooner you apply to a college, the more eligible you are for the scholarships the colleges offer. Hundreds and thousands of dollars are claimed in scholarships and thousands of dollars are unclaimed each year,the more applicants there are;more money that is available,” said Bailey.

The summer before your senior year is a good time to work on researching what you may need to do to be ready for applying to college. You can do Prep Tests, Khan Academy, or work on your personal statement. Then you already have a personal statement and can just tailor it when it’s needed. You also need to give yourself some time to relax. The summer is a good time to balance your work and academics so you can focus on one thing. Go into your senior year feeling in control!


Leave a Reply