written by
Julia Riew

38 Junior Summer Ideas for College Applications

Admissions Tips Advisor Tips 5 min read
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Photographer: Ethan Robertson | Source: Unsplash

Are you planning on applying to college during the 2021-2022 application cycle? If so, you likely already know that the summer before senior year of high school - AKA “junior summer” - is a great time to dive into your extracurriculars and prepare for college applications.

Check out the article below to find out how some of CollegeAdvisor.com’s Admissions Experts from top universities spent junior summer. To build your personal strategy for the summer and your college applications, sign up to work with an admissions coach 1-on-1.


Q: How did you spend the summer after your junior year of high school?

“Cello / music volunteering and an orchestra camp.”

- Grant R., Harvard University

“I worked in two theaters, first a local theater in Ohio shadowing the Marketing director but also just helping out in general. The second theater was the American Repertory Theater (ART), where I was a lighting intern on Burn All Night and Warholcapote, experiences I discussed in my essay!”

- Finn B., Harvard University

“Two weeks of Model UN summer camp, Girls State, worked part-time at a local library, volunteered as an instructor/counselor at local band camp, part-time tutoring, babysitting, housesitting.”

- Elinor M., Brown University

“I volunteered at a center for autistic children as a teacher's aide.”

- Lara V.R., Harvard University

“Sports (swimming, tennis), babysitting/nannying, working at a grocery store, interning at a surgeon's office.”

- Caroline M., Notre Dame University

“The summer after my junior year of high school I went to an SAT boot camp to try to improve my test scores before I retook the test in the fall.”

- Zoe E., University of California - Berkeley

“I went to Nicaragua for a month and stayed with a host family while volunteering in a school and hospital. I also volunteered at an inter-faith/community service-based program and visited my grandparents.”

- Kaitlin L., University of California - Berkeley

“I attended the Telluride Association Summer Program (TASP) at Cornell.”

- Carolyn H., Stanford University

“I volunteered with an NGO and did an unpaid internship with a policy lab.”

- Richa G., Stanford University

“Kentucky Governor's Scholars Program.”

- Rashmi B., Vanderbilt University

“Research at a college through a local summer research program, volunteering at a library.”

- Lily X., Washington University in St. Louis

“Brandeis Global Youth Summit and Center for Infectious Disease Research (now Seattle Children's Hospital) six-week biomedical internship.”

- Sami E., Yale University

"Two-month study abroad focused on conflict resolution in Rwanda."

- Lillian E., Bowdoin College

“The summer after my junior year of high school, I worked four jobs to save money for college. I worked as a tennis instructor for a non-profit that provided affordable tennis lessons for 20-30 hours a week. Additionally, I worked as a nanny, a tutor, and a babysitter. ”

- Alli H., Stanford University

“I was part of a club called Cafe Scientifique that put on speakers for different subjects. I also volunteered at the library and took a Russian class.”

- Leonor W., Georgetown University

“Worked on the nonprofit STEM education organization I co-founded and mental health advocacy projects.”

- Allison T., Harvard University

“My family went to China, and I just did a bunch of summer homework. I also continued my job at Kumon when we were in the U.S.”

- Daphne M., University of Chicago

“Clinical otolaryngology internship at Osborne Head and Neck Institute, Elite travel/club softball, Kizuna high school leadership program.”

- Mariko R., Yale University

“Research in two labs.”

- Marisa P., Yale University

“Legislative Intern for Congressman (CA-11).”

- Arham H., University of Pennsylvania

“Studied music at North Carolina's Governor's School.”

- Lucas W., Harvard University

“Worked in an achievement center for students on the spectrum ranging from 3 to 21.”

- Bryan A., Stanford University

“Research at UCLA through their engineering program HSSRP.”

- Katie C., Brown University

“I took college classes at my community college.”

- Maria A.R., Harvard University

“Worked in IT at my school, attended Carnegie Mellon University's AP/EA Program where I took two undergraduate courses.”

- Austin B., Stanford University

“Worked at a grocery store, fundraised for Model United Nations.”

- Bailee P., Brown University

“Biology research project at a lab, attended the final round of the USA Biology Olympiad.”

- Henry S., Stanford University

“LA County Superior Court intern.”

- Arman R., University of Pennsylvania

“I interned/volunteered with a local non-profit in Houston, Texas.”

- Kaveh B., Princeton University

“I attended Mathworks: Honors Summer Math Camp. I took courses in advanced math (Combinatorics/Analysis) and also worked on a group research project exploring combinatorics number theory for a Siemens Project submission.”

- Phillip H., Massachusetts Institute of Technology

“Research at a local university and volunteering at the local hospital.”

- Gagan V., Duke University

“I biked across the country from South Carolina to San Diego.”

- Emma K., Cambridge University

“I was a research intern at Columbia University.”

- Rouhin G., University of California - Berkeley

“Biomed Research at local university.”

- Ishaani K., Brown University

“Tennis tournaments.”

- Sumona H., Harvard University

“I participated in the Summer Science Program at Purdue University, where 35 other high school juniors and I completed an intensive six week long biochemistry research project and attended college-level lectures and labs.”

- Ruqaiyah D., Yale University

“I worked at a music camp as a counselor and teacher (both group and private lessons) for Boston Youth Symphony Orchestras. I also participated in the Sphinx summer program, a competitive program for Black and Latinx classical musicians.”

- Genevieve L., Harvard University

“Worked at an ice cream shop, acted in a play, attended opera camp, visited east coast colleges after a family reunion, went to debate camp.”

- Tara B., Dartmouth College


This article was based on interviews with CollegeAdvisor.com’s Admissions Experts. If you want to get 1-on-1 help with your college applications from a CollegeAdvisor.com Admissions Expert, register with CollegeAdvisor.com today.

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