Summer activities to prepare students for college

CHICOPEE, Mass. (Mass Appeal) – Summer time conjures up images of the beach and fun times. But for high school kids it can be an opportunity to impress colleges when it comes time to apply to college. College planning advisor, Paul Hemphill,  joined us to tell you what your high school student can do this summer.

 What’s the most important thing a high school student can do this summer?

Developing your communication skills. If your student is chomping at the bit to get
Seth’s job someday, demonstrating your ability to speak coherently will impress any
employer. That can mean decreasing your ability to text! Stop texting! Spend time
actually speaking to your classmates instead of texting, and write a daily diary of your
summer activities to develop your writing skills.

Is there anything you would recommend to help the student with their writing skills?

Yes. You can take a summer course at a local college in comprehensive writing and get
college credit for it. But you have to be going into your senior year of high school to do
that. Otherwise, a parent can hire a tutor this summer to teach your child how to write.
Right now, if you ask any employer, “What is the key quality you are looking in any job
applicant?,” they will tell you they want good communication skills. And because
vocabulary is so critical, I would go online and order 2 fabulous books from a website

What about a job this summer? Should high school students be looking for work?

This may surprise you, but if you are going to impress the colleges with a decent
resume, the last thing they like to see is that you had a job. Here’s a college’s priority list
of what they look for, out of a list of 15 items: of course, grades, test scores and strength
of curriculum count in the top three, the college application essay ranks 5th in
importance, the college interview ranks at number 10, and a job ranks last at number
15. What’s the lesson here? Find an activity that will improve your mind, not your

What else would you suggest a high school student do this summer?

Read, read, and…read. Read anything you can get your hands on that interests you. So
if you like reading about Asiatic elephants in the Siberian tundra, concentrate on that!
Or, if your student has an interest in getting Seth’s job, he should read everything he
can about communications and broadcasting! The biggest lesson, again, about summer
activity is to do anything you can do to improve your mind, not your ability to get a job.

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