Summer break – 10ish weeks away from the demands of school, homework, and extracurricular activities. For some students, these weeks represent a blissful period of late mornings and relaxation – but for others, these weeks are a chance to get ahead of the crowd.
You should certainly take some time for a little R&R, but make sure you don’t waste your summer break. This is a time when opportunities abound, especially for students hoping to earn admission to top colleges.
Enroll in a Selective Summer Program
Many students enroll in summer programs offered by states, universities, and other organizations. Here are some top summer programs for high school students that you can pursue each year:
- State governor’s programs: Students often apply for these through their schools; this link lets students explore the options available in their home states
- Summer Program at MIT: (Formerly MIT Launch) Live on MIT’s campus while you are supported through the process of launching an actual startup.
- Research Science Institute (RSI): 80 high school students gather at MIT for the Research Science Institute to combine on-campus course work in scientific theory with off-campus work in science and technology research.
- Boston University Research in Science and Engineering (RISE): Rising seniors spend 6 weeks at BU conducting university lab research and engaging in workshops and seminars.
- Boston University Program in Mathematics for Young Scientists (PROMYS): Students spend 6 weeks at BU exploring the creative world of math.
- Stanford High School Summer College: Students spend eight or nine weeks living and learning at Stanford. Participants earn college credit on a Stanford transcript.
- Yale Young Global Scholars: Intensive two-week sessions on Yale’s campus.
- CDC Museum Disease Detective Camp: Day camp held at CDC headquarters immersing participants in the field of public health.
- UPenn Management and Technology Summer Institute: Credit-bearing summer program allowing students to explore the integration of technological concepts and management principles.
- Brown Pre-College Programs: Students in grades 7-12 experience the challenge of college-level academics through a variety of summer programs at Brown.
- Harvard Summer Programs for High School Students: Options include two-week non-credit courses or seven-week credit-bearing courses.
Boost SAT and ACT Scores
Maybe a high school summer program isn’t for you. When you’re trying to balance a full day of school, hours of homework, and multiple clubs and teams, there’s not a ton of time left for test prep. That makes summer a great time to work on boosting SAT and ACT scores.
Lots of students choose to self-study for the SAT or ACT during the summer. If this is your plan, here are some tips:
- Take a diagnostic test – you don’t know how far you need to go until you have a starting point
- Choose a test prep book with several practice tests – practice tests will tell you how much progress you’re making
- Focus on weaknesses but don’t ignore strengths – if you don’t work on areas where you’re already scoring well, you risk losing knowledge and skills
- Time yourself when you practice – a big part of the challenge of the SAT and the ACT is the time limit, so if you don’t time your practice sessions, you won’t get a good idea of how well you’re really doing
An intensive SAT or ACT Boot Camp might be a better option for you. C2 offers both an SAT Boot Camp and an ACT Boot Camp. Both summer programs include 4 weeks of test prep sessions and three practice tests, instruction from expert teachers, custom content designed for summer study, and a focus on the knowledge and skills that will lead to the biggest score increases. Visit a local C2 center today to learn more!
Get Ahead in Tough Classes
If you’ve taken a full load of AP classes before, you know how hard it can be to keep up with the work during the school year. Some of our most successful students get a jump start by reviewing some of the material during the summer. AP students might consider investing in a good AP exam prep book and reviewing concepts in advance.