Curing Employees' Summertime Blues: Summer Activities and College Admissions
"Oh nomy son hasn't done anything of value with his summers off!"
"Wait, this is what colleges are expecting from my daughter?!"Alarm bells also start going off for employees with younger children, who wonder:
"If this is what colleges are expecting now, how much more achievement will be required when my daughter is going through this?"
"How in the world am I going to help my son put together an interesting summer in a few years?"Whatever the reaction, the end result is the same: increased stress and time away from work spent searching for resources to help relieve that stress. Your employees could try to ask their child's guidance counselor about ideas for summer, but that person is likely to be swamped with more pressing concerns. They could attempt to research options on their own, but there are so many that it will be tough for them to decipher what's appropriate and impactful and what is not.
Keeping Employees Focused: Approaching Summer Activities and College AdmissionsDrawing on insight gleaned from years spent as senior admissions officers at some of the nation's most selective institutions, we at College Coach first help employees understand the basics of what colleges are actually expecting from students during their summers off (note: it varies, but rarely involves more school and never requires writing big checks to pay for expensive programs). We parse out some useful ways to spend a summer: community service, part-time jobs, intensive experiences in a particular area of interest, to name just a few. We talk through the benefits of volunteering for Habitat for Humanity in the local community versus spending $4,000 so that their children can build houses in Costa Rica, and how colleges might view each of these experiences very differently.
We also discuss the drawbacks of doing everything with only college admissions in mind, the importance of balancing work with fun and the negative implications of students doing things that don't interest them and have no connection to their ultimate aspirations.