This is the time of year when we start receiving emails and phone calls from high school juniors asking what they could be doing to prepare for the college admission process. First and foremost, summer is a time for you to rest and relax! You work hard all year – as do we 🙂 – and you deserve to take a breath. Given the additional context of the pandemic and the rollercoaster of a year that we have collectively had (yes, it is only February), it is okay if summer break is just that- a break! The most important thing is to remember to continue taking a challenging curriculum during your senior year and to prepare for college rigor. It you would like to dive into an area of interests or learn something new, read on for a few ideas.
The summer can be the perfect time for you to seek out new experiences! Many families use their summer vacations to tour prospective colleges. As you begin to reflect on what you may be searching for in your college experience, you will likely begin to dwindle down your list of prospective colleges and, if possible, take some of your time off during the summer to tour the colleges. We’ve said before and we’ll continue to say, that there’s no better way to gain an understanding of the culture of an institution until you step foot on campus. In addition to a regular campus tour, this might be a good time to register for on-campus interviews if they are offered at the colleges you’ll be visiting. Harvey Mudd typically begins summer tours in June. If you are unable to visit colleges in person, many provide virtual options to be acquainted with the college and to hear from current students.
There are a multitude of summer residential and non-residential programs available for high school students. For example, Harvey Mudd College offers a Summer Session*. Other four-year institutions and local community colleges also offer summer classes. Here is a list of a few of the summer STEM programs that are available. Some students choose to attend summer programs, such as Operation Catapult at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology or COSMOS (for California residents).
Some students choose to conduct research or hold internships over the summer before their senior year in high school to gain a better idea of type of work their chosen majors may entail. Students are often able to find these internships or research assistantships through family friends, local hospitals or local colleges/universities.
For many students, scheduling conflicts such as part time jobs, sports camps, music programs, family vacations, summer school, etc will prevent them from taking part in one of the summer activities listed above and that’s okay too! Any way that you choose to spend you time is okay- remember to take care of yourself first and foremost. Whatever you spend your summer doing, we hope that you feel like you spent it well: we hope you learn something about yourself, enjoy whatever it is you did, and go into your senior year feeling re-energized.
*Please note that HMC does not consider “demonstrated interest” (e.g., visiting campus, participating in the Summer Session, calling or emailing admission staff, etc.) in making admission decisions to its degree program. Acceptance to and participation in HMCs Summer Session does not constitute admission to any HMC degree program.