Back to Use Your Summer

Before You Apply to College

Colleges want to see that you use your summers well. NYC is full of summer options to help you prepare for higher education. You can get a job, explore your interests, volunteer, take a College NOW course, prepare for the SAT, start your applications or check out a few college campuses.


  • What’s the best thing to do with my summer?

    Colleges want you to be active in the summer. Whether you take a course, get a job, do an internship or participate in a community program – colleges want to see that you’re doing something. In the eyes of a college admissions office, any of these activities is valuable. Colleges want to see that you are motivated to use your free time in a productive way, so it’s just important that you do something.

  • How can I find classes to take over the summer?

    If you attend a NYC Department of Education high school, College NOW has a lot of wonderful course offerings in the summer. College NOW courses are offered free to NYC public high school students and allow students to earn college credits. You can find a listing of their courses at

    For those not able to participate in College NOW, there are still a lot of courses that are available to you. Many colleges offer programs for high school students during the summer.  Check each college’s website to see program focus, dates and cost. Financial aid may be available. In addition, there are some excellent online courses from top universities that are available for free. Check out Coursera.

  • Where can I find a summer job?

    If you live in NYC and are between the ages of 14 – 24, the Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP) can be a great resource for summer jobs. During the summer of 2012, 30,000 youth were placed in summer jobs through SYEP. To apply, you need to fill out an online application (available in April). More information can be found here.

    If you are under the age of 18, you need working papers to work. If you are still in high school, your school can give them to you. If you are out of high school, you can call 311 to find the closest school to your location to receive your working papers.

  • I like having summers off, does it really matter that much if I just hang out?

    Colleges really like to see students involved in something over their summers, especially the summer before their senior year of high school. Search to find an activity, program or job that will keep you occupied, but also give you time to hang out. It will be worth it to have an additional thing to put on your college applications!

  • I work during the summer, is that something that I can include on a college application?

    Absolutely! Colleges want to know what you’re involved with, and a job is a serious commitment. You should include your job in your resume and also on the activities part of your applications.

  • How can I find summer programs to participate in?

    If you are in high school, check with your school counselor about any programs s/he might know. If you are a NYC public high school student, strongly consider taking part in College NOW ( If you are not in high school, NYC offers many great summer opportunities. Try contacting colleges that you are interested in to see whether they have any programs. You can also search NYC College Line and Google for summer programs related to your particular interests (such as biology or dance). You can also participate in free activities at many of NYC’s museums.

  • I have to apply to college this fall. What can I be doing now to get ahead?

    Summer is a great time to get a jump start on your applications. Research! If you’re not sure what schools you’re interested in, take the college search quiz on College Board to get you started. Take this time to really get to know the schools you’re interested in. If possible, visit the campuses. Read about them on their website. Send away for their promotional material. Research the majors that interest you.Work on your essay. Study for the SAT or ACT.Begin your applications.

    After August 1st, the applications should be available online. Begin to fill them out!  Remember, it is a good idea to talk to your school counselor or other adviser about your college choices before submitting them.

Recommended Resources

DYCD Youth Connect

WEBSITE  |  A free and confidential information service that connects youth to jobs, afterschool programs and training opportunities for youth, adolescents, adults and families.  Read more  


College Board

WEBSITE  |  A site that focuses on college readiness, college connection and success as well as advocacy for students and counselors. contains information on SATs, PSATs, AP exams, as well as information on colleges and universities all over the country.  Read more  


The Common Application

WEBSITE  |  A standardized undergraduate college application form used by 488 institutions, designed to make applying to college easier for students.  Read more  

Real Time Web Analytics