Do What You Wanna
It's not only the unofficial motto of New Orleans, it's how you should approach your high school activities too. We often hear of students taking up activities like internships over the summer because they think it will enhance their college application. At Tulane, we don't value some activities over others, so do what interests you and fits your goals the most. Getting internship experience is great, but don't do it just to impress the admission committee. If you have no interest in the internship, that's not going to help your application stand out. More than anything, admission committees want to see you engaged in activities you're passionate about. We can feel that passion when you write about your activities on the application, but we can also feel when you're just doing certain things to check a box. Our advice is to think broadly about ways to spend your summer, whether that's getting a job, doing research, finding the right internship, volunteering, or something else. Just make sure it's something you want to do.
Summer vacation is a great time to get a head start on your college search. One of the first things you can start doing is visiting college campuses. Start your search locally by visiting the schools in your area. This will give you an opportunity to familiarize yourself with how campus visits work and what the admission process looks like. Although there are likely to be fewer students on campus over the summer, you can still have a productive visit at any school. When booking your visit, contact the undergraduate admission office. The admission office is a great resource to help connect you with current students, staff, and faculty, and will help you make the most out of your visit.
Keep the Essay in Mind
The essay portion of the application can be the most difficult part for students. This summer, start thinking about a topic. Here’s the secret: think about the first thing that comes to mind as your college essay topic. Now, put that aside, dig a little bit deeper, and see if you can come up with something a little more unique to you. Odds are, the first thing that popped into your mind is the same thing that popped into the minds of thousands of other college applicants across the country. Another way to think of it is: if your best friend or sibling could write the same essay, pick something else to write about. Just like the activities section of the application, the essay should speak to who you are, not who you think would impress an admission counselor. In your spare time this summer, try out some writing exercises like composing an introductory paragraph. You can even review the Common App essay prompts for this year to start planning which prompt you’ll respond to. At Tulane, we have an additional essay prompt that asks you to explain why you are interested in Tulane, which is something you can mull over during a potential summer visit!