University Counselling: Thinking Ahead to Summer

It’s only early April and yet I already feel the pressure to make summer plans. Apparently, there is stiff competition for the summer camp registration for my 8-year-old. I caved and registered her in an August camp already. (Normally, I can leave it to the last minute. That’s the bonus of being a teacher and having the summer off!)

If you’re like me and are (reluctantly or not) already thinking about how to fill those sunny days, here are a few suggestions, courtesy of your friendly University Counselling department, for you to consider as you look ahead at post-secondary:

  • There certainly are no shortage of summer programs on university campuses that you could consider. This document gives details of a whole range of programs – different themes, different locations – though some of them have early deadlines and you might need to put it in the hopper for 2018.
  • If you have reason to be in Edmonton July 10-14, maybe the Summer Career Camp is for you? The University of Alberta Career Centre has a whole week planned to help Grade 10 to 12 students get “unstuck” and jump-start their career journey.
  • Maybe there are long summer days ahead this year, and thoughts of U.S. applications in the future? If so, now is a good time to get your CommonApp.org account up and running and start to consider how you will write your essay. Or perhaps you want to spend some time on Khan Academy working through their SAT prep resources, or perhaps download the ACT Prep by Ready4 on your phone.
  • If there is travel in your summer plans, fit in university and college visits. Not much beats being on campus to get a feel for whether you want to spend four years of your life there.
  • Update your resume in Naviance Family Connection and look for a summer job or volunteer opportunity. There are lots of great organizations out there looking for help (paid or unpaid) and having a job looks great on university applications. It can provide solid evidence of commitment, interpersonal skills, perseverance and real-life experience. And if it puts money in your bank account, so much the better!
  • Maybe you want to take a credit course this summer. SMUS is offering a 4-credit Physical Geography 12 course in August this year, entirely completed while canoeing down the Wind River in the Yukon. Download the pamphlet or talk to Mr. McLeod or Mr. Pope about it.
  • There are also other summer school options in the month of July in many school districts – though I don’t know of any courses that involve paddling. Keep your eyes on the school announcements for more summer school info when it becomes available.

Summer can be a great time to discover a new interest, develop a talent, or get something knocked off your “to do” list in a different setting. If you want to talk about any of the possibilities above (or ones you have found), please check in with your Academic Advisor.

P.S. Don’t forget to build in time for reading, lounging around, and maybe even being bored. I’m all for that, too.

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Alison McCallum
Alison McCallum is Head of University Counselling at SMUS and one of the Academic Advisors.

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