Summer vacation gives you an opportunity to participate in a variety of extracurricular activities. Organized programs fall into four categories: academic, performing and fine arts, sports, and community service. There is an enormous range of programs available both in Europe and the United States within each category that will match an individual’s interests and goals. For example, there are academic enrichment programs such as creative writing workshops, foreign language studies, human genetics, robotics and dozens of other topics. For the student who needs an academic boost, whether in English or another subject, there are remedial programs. Fine art and music camps give students a chance to play with fellow musicians and, in some cases, work on their portfolios. Sports camps abound whether you are a recreational player or a scholar-athlete looking to be recruited for college-level play and an athletic scholarship. Finally, there are a number of programs where students can assist a disadvantaged community by teaching English or building and restoring structures in the community. At Educational Advisory Services, we listen to your interests and goals and tailor a summer program to meet them.
Other constructive uses of your free time during the long summer months could be internships and volunteer work. Try to arrange an internship between your last two years of high school. You can learn first-hand about potential careers while gaining self-confidence and skills that are attractive to admissions committees. Use the summer to explore and clarify your college major and career goals with professionals. At the same time, you can establish a network of professional contacts and mentors who may serve as references both for college applications and for your future career.
COLLEGE STUDENTS’ OPINIONS
As you research colleges and universities, find out what each college’s students think about their school. In addition to visiting the campuses and chatting with the students wandering around between classes, it is often possible to access the student newspapers online. Check them out to see what the hot topics on campus are and get a sense of whether that college would be a good fit for you. Even if you are unable to physically tour the campuses on your college list, there are websites with postings and videos from many university undergraduates. College Prowler has no university affiliations and is written by actual students. Unigo was developed as a platform for college students to share videos, photos and reviews about their university and for high school students to find out what life is really like on a particular campus and the site provides plenty of other resources such as interviews with admission deans and information on paying for college. A great source for college video tours is Youniversity. You won’t find all the answers from these sources, and you always need to take the opinions with a grain of salt, but they are a great place to start. As always, protect your privacy and use the internet wisely.
ENTRANCE EXAMINATIONS: SAT, TOEFL, ETC.
What are they and why do I have to take them?
All of these tests have a multiple choice component and can include a writing component. Many colleges and universities in the U.S. require students to submit scores from either the ACT or SAT standardized tests. The ACT is a content-based exam that tests what material the student has mastered in language arts and mathematics. It is offered several times a year. The score is based only on the number of correct answers. The SAT’s Critical Reasoning test scores are based on the number of correct answers minus 1/4 times the number of incorrect answers. The SAT is less content-based than the ACT and tests problem-solving skills. The PSAT is the junior version of the SAT and is usually taken by sophomores (for practice) and juniors and is only offered in October. American students’ scores from their junior year are used as a pre-qualification for the award of National Merit Scholarships. For those students who are not good test takers, there are over 700 colleges including some highly competitive schools, which do not require either the ACT or the SAT.
I speak English fluently. Do I need to take the TOEFL?
Many colleges and universities require students who have not attended an American or British school for the last three years of high school to take the TOEFL, an English language proficiency test. Educational Advisory Services will discuss the tests and provide a timeline and preparation advice for our clients.