I hope you are having a wonderful holiday season. Even though it is cold outside, this is also the time of year when some of our students and families begin to make summer plans.
When thinking about summer, students should consider a range of opportunities and pick ones that will best equip them to meet their own individual goals. Concordia’s counselors suggest summer jobs, volunteer opportunities, online learning, self-generated projects, travel, college visits, family time, reading for pleasure, and summer programs. Any of these things can be of value, if students explore or go deeper into an area they find to be meaningful. Our goal for students who partake in summer activities is that they will return to Concordia with even more energy to develop themselves and improve the lives of others.
Many students take advantage of summer programs to further explore areas of interest, as well as gaining valuable experiences that cannot be had during the regular school year. Students applying to colleges and universities often find that summer program participation is a way to demonstrate dedication and depth of experience in a particular subject. In fact, competitive summer program participation often prepares students for success when it comes to highly competitive college admissions.
Counselors have researched summer programs and created version 6 of the Concordia Summer Program Guide (VPN required link, please email your HS counselor for a PDF version).
Please be mindful that some of the more selective programs have quickly-approaching application deadlines.
If a program requires a letter of recommendation from a counselor or teacher, the general rule is that students need to ask for letters in a face-to-face discussion, at least one month before the application deadline. A handwritten thank you note, or a small gift is a nice way to show letter writers that you appreciate the extra effort they put towards your success.
Additionally, we have created a map that visualizes colleges where past students have been accepted (VPN required). You may find it useful if you are planning a summer college tour. Please challenge yourself to be open minded and include visits to colleges that may not currently be of interest you. Counselors generally consider a college visit list full of reach schools to be an unhealthy standard. There are many paths to success in life. Your college visit list should reflect that reality. On a personal level, Concordia’s counselors love planning college visit itineraries. Use us as a resource!
Counselors will ask 11th graders about their summer plans in Junior meetings this February-March. Sophomores and freshmen will also need to prepare themselves to talk about summer plans in our 1-on-1 Happiness Engineering meetings in May. We are excited to hear about the challenges that students will take on, and the opportunities they will create.
Students with questions, or those who would like additional guidance can schedule time to meet with their counselor.
HS Counseling Team