Summer Plans During Coronavirus: How to Spend Your Break Strategically

                Padya Paramita

                Summer Plans During Coronavirus: How to Spend Your Break Strategically

                As we get closer to the month of May, many prestigious summer programs have started to cancel on-campus and on-site operations. Some have offered online alternatives, some have allowed students to defer their acceptance to next summer, while others have directly refunded participants. If the pandemic has disrupted your original plans, you are not alone! There is still time to make meaningful summer plans during Coronavirus.

                The summer is always a crucial season for building student profiles. Even if your pre-organized summer program has been canceled, you need to take advantage of your current resources to strengthen your application. Admissions officers will be understanding of the fact that the pandemic has changed so many plans, but they also will take note of how you utilized this time. To guide you through the changes, I have outlined a list of top summer programs that have announced cancelations and remote operations, whether the changes will affect your college application, along with what to do if your program was changed to make the most of summer plans during Coronavirus.

                Updates on Summer Program Operations for 2020

                The following programs have updated students on cancelations or announced the transition to remote operations for the upcoming summer. Keep checking the list, as we will keep this blog up to date as more information comes out.

                • Brown Pre-College Summer Programs: All residential [email protected] programming has been canceled for sessions occurring before July 12th. The university is continuing to monitor the pandemic before making a final decision about programs set to take place between July 12th and August 7th. Brown is looking into online learning programs to provide this summer as an alternative.
                • Columbia Summer Immersion: Columbia University has informed students that the Summer Immersion program will not take place at the school’s NYC campus. The 3-week-long program, which allows students to take classes across the board from business to creative writing to math, will instead be conducted remotely this year.?
                • Cornell Pre-College: Cornell Pre-College courses that were originally scheduled to begin earlier than July 12 have been cancelled or will be converted to online offerings. The university is reaching out to individual students on the status of their specific courses.
                • Iowa Young Writers’ Studio: For aspiring writers, Iowa Young Writers’ Studio will not occur this year. Instead, the program is allowing admitted students to attend online classes this year and have guaranteed them an in-person spot for summer 2021.?
                • LaunchX: On April 7, the LaunchX team announced that the program will not take place in-person this summer at any of its locations. Students have the option of attending LaunchX Virtual, which the team has organized in light of this situation. Students can also receive a refund of their deposit and tuition fees.
                • Research Science Institute (RSI): MIT has announced that the 2020 edition of the Research Science Institute, originally planned for June 21- August 1 at the school’s Cambridge campus, has been canceled.?
                • Stanford Summer Humanities Institute: Stanford has recently announced that this summer program will be conducted online in 2020. The experience will still feature courses taught by Stanford humanities professors. The team is working on the details and will provide more information closer to the summer.
                • Stanford University Mathematics Camp (SUMaC): Stanford has updated students that SUMaC 2020 will not take place on campus. The team is currently exploring online options so that students can still participate in the program remotely.?
                • Wharton Leadership in Business World (LBW): The University of Pennsylvania has declared that the first session of LBW, which was originally scheduled for May 31–June 27, has been canceled. All program sessions starting on or after June 28, 2020, including the second group for LBW, are set to continue as scheduled for the time being.?
                • Yale Young Global Scholars (YYGS): Yale University has canceled on-campus YYGS programming. Students who are juniors will receive the option to participate in online YYGS programming, while sophomores will not. Refunds will be administered for all affected students.?

                                  How Will a Canceled Summer Program Affect Your Admissions Chances?

                                  If you were registered for one of the above programs, you may now be confused as to how to make summer plans during Coronavirus, especially if social distancing protocols still continue in the upcoming months. It’s without a doubt disappointing, particularly considering they are very competitive and you worked hard on your application. That said, there’s no need to freak out —?you can still utilize the summer to strengthen your profile. And even if the program that you’re planning to attend isn’t on the list yet and you’re waiting to hear updates, you can start making alternate plans in case things don’t work out.?

                                  In fact, a canceled program may even end up becoming a blessing in disguise. While these are definitely prestigious and can boost your application, college admissions officers are often more impressed by students who spearhead their own initiative rather than participate in a pre-organized experience, as the latter has become increasingly common. Don’t just sit at home doing nothing over the summer. Although top schools will definitely understand that your plans may have been disrupted due to the pandemic, they will also be looking to see how you took advantage of your resources and made summer plans during Coronavirus despite the circumstances.

                                  How to Still Take Advantage of Summer 2020

                                  At times like this, it’s important to make the most of what you do have and act accordingly. This is a crucial time for high school students working on their college applications. Susan Shifflett, one of our Former Admissions Officer from Yale University, explained on Insider Higher Ed that students have to step outside the box, as well as think local. Think about how you can take advantage of your talent or hobby and let your creativity flow. This could include using social media to showcase your photography, putting your designs on to t-shirts and starting an online clothing store, or creating your own community radio show or podcast.

                                  You may be tempted to spend the summer watching TV or just studying for the SAT if your testing session got postponed. But this is really a time when you can dedicate yourself full-time to a project that really sets you apart. You may be wondering what online tools are out there to reach out to people and communicate with your peers —?this blog can provide you with an introduction to technologies that can be useful at this time.?

                                  Consider how you can make an impact with what you have at home. Some project ideas include:?

                                  • Creating a documentary film on a topic you’re passionate about
                                  • Writing poems to eventually compile a collection?
                                  • Putting together a group of like-minded individuals who believe in a cause and start an organization around it
                                  • Conducting a research project on a topic that appeals to you
                                  • Building an app that can help others
                                  • Starting your own Etsy shop or your own business
                                  • Spearheading a fundraiser that supports your community
                                  • Composing or recording songs?
                                  • Creating your own food-delivery service to help local restaurants

                                  For more subject-based ideas and resources related to COVID-specific projects, you can visit this blog. For an admissions officer's take on how you should be planning your summer, listen to this podcast featuring Natalia, a Former Assistant Director of Admissions at UChicago:

                                  It’s obviously disappointing if your original summer plans have faltered due to COVID-19. But, while things might feel hopeless right now, there are many possibilities for ways you can be productive from home, no matter how things turn out this summer. As you make summer plans during Coronavirus, show admissions officers that you didn’t let the setback get you down. Who knows, you might pursue your passion in a way that truly sets you apart from the competition. Stay safe and good luck!

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