By Jethel Hernandez, Senior
When thinking about the summer before your senior year, you should equate this time as an opportunity to explore your academic interests. Participating in summer programs or volunteer opportunities during this time can help college admissions understand that you truly have a distinct passion—this is often the trait they look for in a prospective student.
During the summer before my senior year, I participated in a rigorous six-week program known as Minority Introduction to Engineering and Science, MITES, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MIT. At the university, I was taking five rigorous courses that simulate a MIT college freshman schedule. My experience during the summer was extremely enlightening; I was able to realize that I had newfound interests. Throughout my life I had always ignored architecture, trivializing it as simply a drawing course; however, after those six weeks, I learned that it was much more than that, and I ended up loving it. The long hours at the studio, along my classmates, became a time of enjoyment where everyone, through their work, was able to portray their creativities. All students in the classroom became like a new family. Also, academically, I learned that architecture required many intricate skills like 3D modeling and dimensional analysis. Needless to say, I have found a new passion after the culmination of the program, and this gave me a new outlook that perhaps I could be open, in college, to try different classes in order to become a better-rounded student.
My advice to you is that you go out this summer and demonstrate how hard you are willing to work to develop your passions. You should start looking for summer programs early in October to make sure that you meet all deadlines and MONEY SHOULD NOT BE AN EXCUSE. There are many prestigious programs that are completely free some of at places like MIT, Carnegie Mellon, Harvard, Yale etc. Make sure that you portray your interests through your writing since it is often that and not test scores what makes you shine from the rest.
I hope that just like me, this summer, you can explore your interest or even expand them. Perhaps this could be your first taste of your next life—in college.