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School breaks provide the perfect opportunity to get involved in activities and programs that will give you a competitive edge when building a well-rounded college application that stands out.

When it comes to applying for college, there’s no such thing as being over-qualified. Of course, dabbling in too many different activities without really diving into any of them is a different story — but choosing to dedicate your free time to pursue a unique interest is a positive on all accounts.

With summer and winter holidays just around the corner for students across the globe, it’s time to start thinking about how you can make the most of your downtime. Many school break opportunities worldwide have adapted to follow restrictions in their respective countries, so despite limitations created by COVID-19, there are still many options available.

At Crimson, we’re proud to have helped more than 2,000 students around the world get into top US and UK universities by zeroing in on each part of their college application processes, including extracurricular activities. In doing so, we’ve gained an expert understanding of what goes into a competitive, well-rounded application that stands out.

As such, we’ve compiled five different ways you can build your extracurricular profile during the school holidays to illustrate your interests and initiative, ultimately bringing you one step closer to attending a top US or UK university.

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1. Volunteering

Not only does volunteering show a sense of selflessness and dedication to one’s community, but it can also be an enriching experience that will arm you with compelling topics to write and talk about in college essays and interviews. If in-person volunteering opportunities aren’t available to you at the moment, rest assured many nonprofits and community organizations still need help with tasks and projects that can be done remotely.

2. Research programs

Whether through a university, a museum, a nonprofit or other organization, high school students have ample opportunities to take part in research projects during their school holidays. Have you taken a class that sparked your interest in something you’d like to explore on a deeper level? You probably can! Be it STEM or literature, history or geography, the world of research is diverse and bountiful — and can help set you apart in a competitive applicant pool.

3. Internships and externships

While it can be challenging to find an internship or externship as a high school student, it’s not impossible, especially when you have the right resources. These opportunities provide short practical experience and help develop skills that are highly transferable: even if your internship isn’t in the field of study you ultimately decide to pursue, you’ll still come away with professional skills that will strengthen your college applications.

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4. Take a Class

Although most are virtual at the moment, there are countless college courses available to high school students from universities in the US and UK. Many schools offer abbreviated or expedited courses — which are often worth college credit! — to fit into the time frame of a high school break, allowing students to explore topics of interest and get a firsthand glimpse of how college-level courses operate. College course catalogs cover a remarkably wide variety of subjects, so it’s very likely you can find one that suits your interests and genuinely excites you! (For ambitious students looking to use their holidays to take on extra AP classes, check out the new AP offerings at Crimson Global Academy – and don’t worry it’s not too late, as we are taking enrolments into December!)

5. Independent projects

Have you had an idea resting in the back of your mind for a project you’d like to take on if you only had the time? Well, now you do! Perhaps you want to follow in the footsteps of other Crimson students and write a book or launch a tutoring program. Your school holiday may not be long enough to execute these projects in their entirety, but it can certainly be enough time to get them off the ground. You could even take on a shorter-term project like organizing a virtual 5K or a holiday fundraiser for families in need. The options are endless!

Top colleges and universities want to see that you’re passionate about something and you’re willing to dedicate time to exploring it. No matter what type of project or activity you engage in, admissions boards are looking for students who are eager to learn and lead — and using time off from school to dive into something that intrigues you shows the initiative they love to see.

Want to do something extra during your school holidays, but not sure where to start? Crimson can help. You’ve got the interest, we’ve got the resources! Click the link below and schedule a free one hour consultation with one of our Academic Advisors who can help you identify the best way to use your time off from school wisely in a way that excites you and the admissions board at your dream school!

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