May 20th, 2009 Jamie
Oh, summer. The perfect time to sleep in, spend hours at the beach, and catch up on those 62 hours of House you missed because you didn’t have DVR at school.
But I think you’d have to agree that even the amusing antics of Dr. House can get old after twelve straight hours (too much of a good thing). Plus, Mom won’t let us keep using the DVR if Oprah comes on. So if you want to avoid the “too much of a good thing” syndrome, I suggest getting some work done so your “play” time will be more meaningful. Here are a few ways to get started.
Win Some Scholarships
Well, at least try to win some.
Deborah Fox of the Pay for College Blog has several tips about how to increase your odds of winning scholarships. She recommends applying to local scholarships and those targeted to a specific personal trait (hobby, sport, religion, major, etc.), because those will have a smaller applicant pool than the traditional national essay contest.
She also recommends that you do a little background research on who has won in the past. Often times winning essays or short bios are available–these can help you figure out how to present yourself as a good candidate (or if you should move on to the next opportunity).
What? Are you serious? STUDY during summer?
I’m not saying you have to start writing existentialist essays in French or spend the afternoon decoding the human genome, but make sure you keep your brain working. Read a book, even if it’s only for fun. Make a field trip to some local tourist or historical spot you’ve never visited. And if you’re planning to take the MCAT, I’m afraid you’re going to want these homework-free summer months to prepare for that.
If you really need convincing, volunteering is good because:
* It looks great on your resume and scholarship, grad school, and med school applications,
* It is a great way to meet other people who are passionate about the same things you are,
* It can give you experience in a new field, and, the big one,
* It helps other people.
I am hard pressed to think of a field that doesn’t want volunteers. You can do everything from working at an animal clinic to building houses for homeless people, so if something really floats your boat, find out how to become a volunteer!
Go to School
This is probably right up there with studying on your summer to-do list, but taking a couple of extra classes can be extremely helpful. First, if you take the right courses, it could actually speed up your graduation. Second, it keeps your mind active so you are less likely to lose all the stuff you’ve learned this year. Third, you can take the opportunity to take classes you wanted to take but haven’t had time to do during the year.
Want to make your mom happy, and your wallet a little fatter? Spend a couple days going through all the stuff you left behind this year and thin out your clutter collection. If you didn’t use your desktop computer for those 9 months away because you got a laptop, you can probably move on.
Once you’ve separated your stuff in to a “trash” and “sell” pile, post the sellables on eBay or craigslist.org and try to make a little money. Don’t forget to sell back your text books, too. Amazon.com and Half.com are good bets for getting a reasonable return on them.
photo by benipop
Entry Filed under: academics