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Is it better to do classes over the summer or do extra activities

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Is it better to do classes over the summer or do extra activities

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    • Paula (Cornell University - Biology)
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      That depends on what your priorities are, and your motivations for choosing one over the other. Taking classes over the summer can let you take more advanced classes during your final year of high school, and it can even put you in a position to take dual-enrollment classes in a local community college. Both of these are well-regarded by colleges, of course, as doing well in a college-level class is a good way to show that you can do well in college level classes. Even if your credits won't transfer, this will make your transition to college easier as you will already be familiar with a lot of the material in your introductory classes.

      In addition, there is a certain minimum level of classwork expected of students entering prestigious colleges. If you will not take at least Calculus I by the time you graduate, or if you will not have at least two years of a language, I would recommend taking summer classes to rectify that.

      That said, there are some definite barriers to taking summer classes. First is the financial aspect. The classes can be expensive, and taking a class may prevent you from working enough. Having a job looks good to colleges as well, since it shows responsibility, so definitely don't put yourself in a bad position financially just to take an extra class or two.

      Also, if you have the opportunity to do something unique over the summer, definitely do that! I had the opportunity to intern at Social Services over the summer, and this really set me apart from other applicants.

      Finally, you can do multiple activities. For example, you can combine taking a class or two with volunteering or pursuing a hobby or a sport.

      There's really no "bad" thing to do over the summer, as long as you're doing something. You'll need to take stock of your own situation and think about where the strengths and weaknesses in your application are. Or, just do something for fun. Again, as long as you're not just lying around, anything can be spun in a way to make yourself look better come application time.

      Date: 10-05-2017
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      • Sitoë (HMC, Harvey Mudd College - Mechanical Engineering)
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        I think this also depends on which summer.

        When you're still in high school, summers are a good way to expand your knowledge base and experience level, whether that be through a job, internship, classes or even volunteering or doing your own projects. You have a lot of free time and colleges love to see that you're doing something you're passionate about or investing your time into learning something new.

        The summer before college, however, doesn't need to be as action packed. I've found that this is a great time to really explore your surrounding or do things you've always wanted to do before you leave for school. Hike local trails or go on road trips with friends from home. Even go abroad! Treat it like a gap summer. But, of course, don't forget to do any material that your college gives you to prepare for freshman year.

        Date: 17-05-2017
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