As the calendar year draws to a close, many students face the end of an academic semester or trimester. Winter rolls in, the clocks reset, and the sun sets in the early evening hours. It’s nearly that snowy, cozy time for midterm exams and an extended vacation break during the winter holidays! However, it’s not the time to lose focus. As a high school student, as long as you have internet access, you’ll be able to complete a few of these ways to leverage your winter break for college admissions.
Apply to Scholarships
Is December too late to apply for scholarships? Nope! Scholarships have year-round deadlines and are offered to students of all ages—even after they’re enrolled in college!
The only exception is “internal” scholarships, the ones that are offered by colleges specifically to their applicants. It’s not too late for that yet, even in the late fall or winter. This is because, as long as you fill out your FAFSA, you are automatically considered* for those when you send in your regular application. No matter how long it takes, it’s almost always worth it to finish your FAFSA forms.
[*Usually. There are a few exceptions where internal scholarships have separate applications, but those deadlines are usually later.]
There are, quite literally, thousands of scholarships available, so if you’ve decided to pursue a different area of study, or would like more options, a researcher can certainly find some more for you. Having some extra time during the holidays to write better scholarship essays can pay dividends later.
Stay Active and Involved
Unfortunately, there are not many programs offered for students to get hands-on experience specifically for the winter break window. However, you could always include the programs that are offered year-round. Further, you can consider some classes that take place during the winter in your search.
- “Polygence is an online research academy founded by Harvard, MIT, and Stanford researchers dedicated to democratizing access to research opportunities for high school students.
- Connect with an expert mentor online. Develop a research project. Showcase your work and passion through a publication, conference presentation, or creative piece.”
- All year
- “At Forage, our virtual work experience programs give students the opportunity to learn career skills from Fortune 500 companies. Virtual work experience programs replicate work at top companies and connect students to the companies themselves. In only 5-6 hours, learn relevant tools and skills necessary to complete similar tasks during their work day.”
- All Year
3. AI Camp
- “Offers winter and summer camps. Using real-world tools such as Mathematica, students will learn how to take an idea or question and find ways to formulate it for a computer. The course consists of hands-on activities and minimal lecturing. At the end of the program, students will acquire better computational thinking, a skill that is critical in an increasingly technological world.”
- 3 weeks
Conduct Informational Interviews
As a young professional, now might be the best time to reconnect with your network and reach out for informational interviews. Obviously, you need to be respectful of everyone’s time with family and friends during this season. With that in mind, you can also take some time to brush up on informational interviewing skills and consider reaching out.
The next few weeks of November and December are dark, and these quiet months can pass by in the blink of an eye. However, you can still do things in the lead-up to your college application process during these critical weeks.
Now, you’ll be able to complete a few of these ways to leverage your winter break for college admissions!