Impact of Summer programs on college admissions

<p>So my summer consists of nothing except for a competition near the beginning of summer. Will that be enough to count as spending my summer well for college? I know colleges like to see that people use their summers wisely.</p>

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I know colleges like to see that people use their summers wisely.

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<p>Not ... necessarily? It's about what you get from your experience--if your competition opens up new paths for you or something, then you could write about that in a college essay and it would look awesome.</p>

<p>Also, consider volunteering or getting a job--that's something they'd call "useful", I think.</p>

<p>Remember that summer programs don't make a huge impact overall. Obviously there are the programs (RSI, etc.) that are known for their "prestige" factor, but as the participants are genii anyway, I'm not sure even that makes a major difference.</p>

<p>Well, I already have a job and I already volunteer, so I wouldn't really be doing anything extra over the summer. My job doesn't take up much time, as my employer only wants me to work once a week. Essentially, I guess what I'm asking is that will not doing a ton over summer hurt my app at all? I'm looking into schools that are top-tier, specifically MIT/Stanford.
That makes sense that it's what I get from the experience, but I won't really know if it'll be a great experience until afterwards... and in that case, it'll be too late to do other summer programs :P</p>

<p>The stanford supploment has a question that asks: what did you do during the past two summers.</p>

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Essentially, I guess what I'm asking is that will not doing a ton over summer hurt my app at all?

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<p>It's unlikely to be a make-it-or-break-it kind of deal. Van2010 noted the question on the Stanford app--if you know that what you do (job-wise and volunteer-wise) is enjoyable and makes a difference in the world, regardless of how small you think that difference is--you're set.</p>

<p>I think Harvard asks the same question. It's best not to sit around doing nothing or watching TV all day.</p>

<p>Just do something is better than nothing. You don't have to go to a fancy program, or a well known program. I posted elsewhere and it does sound like bragging... no, just want you guys to know that, with an example, albeit only one. My D took online Spanish and attended a local music camp in 9th grade. She attended an unknown 4-week science program and the same music camp in 10th grade. She took multivariate calculus at our local university in 11th grade. That's all to her summers, probably some other volunteer activities but nothing major. Except for Harvard, she got into all the schools she applied to. She doesn't play sport and is not a URM. The schools are all in the top 10 list by USNWR if that list matters.</p>

<p>Thanks everyone! I feel a lot more confident in doing what I want to do rather than going to some "prestigious" program that I may not have enjoyed. I definitely have a lot I want to do and will be busy, it's just that my summer might not exactly be very academic.</p>

<p>Just to an update to anyone who cares- I won't be going to the competition anymore but I ended up taking doing an unknown math camp which, although it may not be "prestigious," seems interesting to me as I love math. Thanks for all the help guys!</p>

<p>That's great about the math camp. Keep in mind that its your experiences there that really determine its value, not its prestige. Have fun.</p>

<p>Another update if anyone cares haha. My math camp just ended- it was AMAZING! It was a local thing but I met so many kids who I never knew had the same interests as me and we bonded a lot in addition to learning so much math (who knew math games could be so much fun?). I would consider this the best camp I've ever been to... I'm glad I listened to you guys and did what I liked versus what college admissions would prefer even though this math camp is virtually unknown. Thanks again everyone.</p>

<p>Wow that's great :) see, if anything, that's a college essay right there ;D lol, jk. I'm glad it turned out to be awesome.</p>