Never underestimate the power of summer activities

August 18, 2011

I recently had the pleasure of speaking to the Associate Dean of Undergraduate Admissions from an ivy league university for an investigation I was doing for work.

Our phone conversation was mostly about their admissions best practices and how they look for talent. Something I found pretty fascinating was how that university, pays particular attention to how candidates spend their last two summers or vacations (students must write about it in a short essay).

Many of us are not close to sending our kids off to college, yet, many parents (& we’ve  all said or heard this before) plan our kids’ summer activities “to get them off the couch” or to “not have them going crazy at home” or  have said ” I don´t really care what they do, I just want them to be busy”, among others which are all probably very valid reasons.

It got me thinking about how responsible we are, as parents, to feed our kids enthusiasm for new activities and introduce them to fun summer activities – not because they’ll have to write about them in a college essay –  besides being part of their education, it’s part of who they are and who they will become in a few years from now. I like the idea of teaching kids to be busy (not academically) during vacations & after school.

When I interview a candidate for admissions, I love asking why they love their extracurricular activities and it’s fulfilling when I hear them say  how they’ve learned to work in teams, learned to make decisions, lead others, fight for what they believe in, volunteer for a cause that moves them, etc.  It’s pretty easy to identify potential talent and a well-rounded young man/woman just from that question…the habit and enthusiasm for summer activities can begin with a fun summer splash in camp!

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