Summer vacation is just around the corner and students are excited about the upcoming weeks of lazy summer days-no teachers, no homework, and no stress. However, if you are a high school student, do yourself a favor and dedicate a few weeks of your summer vacation to explore or develop leadership opportunities.
Leadership experience has become one of the most sought after qualifications that college admissions officers consider when evaluating an applicant. It is true that the courses you take, your GPA, and your standardized test scores are important, but most colleges look beyond these and consider your involvement in extracurricular activities as well. This is not to say that you should become involved in every club or organization, but rather become involved in activities that truly interest you. It is not too early to begin to explore these interests when you are in the 8th or 9th grade.
The main thing to remember is quality of involvement over quantity of involvement. As an 8th or 9th grade student, you should explore new interests and begin to discover your passion. After the 9th grade, begin to hone your interests by dedicating your time and skills to one or two activities for which you are passionate. The term leadership does not necessarily mean being the "president" of and organization, it can just as well include being an involved participant. Please note, colleges can quickly identify students who are passionate about their activities versus students who are involved just to have their applications "look good."
Colleges regard students who demonstrate a high level of commitment to their activities as strong "admits." These applicants usually continue their enthusiasm for their organization while in college, are active contributors to their college, and are successful students and graduates.
As an independent educational consultant, my advice to high school students is to enjoy your summer vacation and become involved with an organization that you want to explore or feel passionate about. By becoming involved you will acquire new skills, meet interesting people, and make your summer more enjoyable.