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Tips for high school students to make the summer productive


Summer might seem far away, but many of the most competitive summer camps and programs have already opened their applications. For students planning on applying to top universities, filling their summers with productive activities is a great way to stand out. Some programs accept just a handful of students a year, so to get in, you have to have a stellar transcript, extracurricular activities that display leadership and growth, and an excellent essay.

Tips On Applying To Summer Programs

1. Do Your Research

If you haven’t figured out what you are going to do this summer, now is the time to get started. Many of the summer camps have applications that opened in early winter. Find a program that fits your future career goals and make sure that you fit the minimum requirements.

2. Choose Your References Carefully and Early

You often will need a letter of recommendation from one or two people. Consider who you can choose and ask them early, well in advance of the application deadline. You want them to be able to write a personalized letter that helps to recommend you to the program.

3. Tell A Compelling Story

You can use your essay as a chance to come alive and bring your entire application together. Try to brainstorm a personal experience that frames your perspective and relates to your chosen discipline. Include personal examples to help the committee get to know you better.

Summer Camps and Programs local to Georgia

Summer Academy at University of Georgia

UGA offers a series of specialty summer camps for middle school and high school students. They offer a wide variety of topics including arts, animation, architecture & design, engineering, coding, medicine, robotics, video game design, and more. Registration for the summer camps opened February 6, 2019.

CEISMC Summer Programs for Enrichment and Accelerated Knowledge in STEM (PEAKS) at Georgia Tech

PEAKS provides a hands-on interactive learning opportunity to learn more about Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) concepts for students in 4th-12th grade. The application for the program will open in early spring.  

Pre-College Program at Emory College

Emory offers a summer academic program for high school students that helps them see how life at a university will be. Students can take two-week long courses not for college credit in a variety of subjects including psychology, biology, economics, marketing, writing, and more. Students can also take a six-week long course and earn college credit. The application is now open, and deadlines for the sessions begin May 31.

Summer At Agnes

Agnes Scott College, an all women’s college and member of the CTCL (Colleges that Change Lives), offers summer camps for talented students. They offer a variety of camps such as writing, STEM, robotics, and foreign languages. The camps aim to encourage team building and problem-solving in a fun way that challenges children of all ages. Registration for these courses is now open.  

*About the author:

Kristen Moon is an independent college counselor and founder of Moon Prep provides one-on-one tutoring services catered to university admissions. They guide students through the entire application process including: completing applications, personal statements, supplemental essays, student resumes, scholarships, and financial aid. Their specialty lies in the Ivy League, direct medical programs (BS/MD), and highly competitive universities.

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