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Articles / Applying to College / Summer Plans and College Admissions

Summer Plans and College Admissions

Sally Rubenstone
Written by Sally Rubenstone | June 10, 2003

Question: I am a sophomore in high school and am confused about summer plans. I enjoy the classics and am considering taking a Latin III summer class, which will give me five years of Latin and three of Greek in high school. I would rather take this class than do something else just for the sake of college admissions. How will admission committees view this?

Without a doubt you should pursue your passion for Latin this summer. We never recommend that a student make choices based only on how they may look on college applications, butâ€" inter nosâ€"we will point out that some selections are wiser than others in that respect.

Latinâ€"and especially Greekâ€"are languages that don’t crop up on college applications as often as several others do, and your in-depth study of them will certainly catch an admission officer’s eye.

However, unless your summer class is an intensive program that lasts much of each day for most of your vacation time, you’ll probably want to have another activity on your curriculum vitae, too. Ideally, this would be something that would underscore your interest in the study of the classics. For instance, is there a museum in your area that would welcome you as an unpaid intern (or, better yet, a paid one)? Would you have the guts to contact a classics prof at a local college and ask if he or she would like a part-time but eager (and free!) research assistant (be sure to say, “No task too menial for me!” Besides, it never hurts to learn your way around a library or even a copy machine before you head to college.)

Admission officials are very interested in applicants who have made a real commitment to some academic or extracurricular undertaking. While simply enrolling in that summer class would certainly fall under the “commitment” rubric, by fleshing it out with yet another venture that’s related to your work in Latin (or Greek), you’d really be speaking their language ad extremum.

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Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone knows the competitive and often convoluted college admission process inside out: From the first time the topic of college comes up at the dinner table until the last duffel bag is unloaded on a dorm room floor. She is the co-author of Panicked Parents' Guide to College Admissions; The Transfer Student's Guide to Changing Colleges and The International Student's Guide to Going to College in America. Sally has appeared on NBC's Today program and has been quoted in countless publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Weekend, USA Today, U.S. News & World Report, Newsweek, People and Seventeen. Sally has viewed the admissions world from many angles: As a Smith College admission counselor for 15 years, an independent college counselor serving students from a wide range of backgrounds and the author of College Confidential's "Ask the Dean" column. She also taught language arts, social studies, study skills and test preparation in 10 schools, including American international schools in London, Paris, Geneva, Athens and Tel Aviv. As senior advisor to College Confidential since 2002, Sally has helped hundreds of students and parents navigate the college admissions maze. In 2008, she co-founded College Karma, a private college consulting firm, with her College Confidential colleague Dave Berry, and she continues to serve as a College Confidential advisor. Sally and her husband, Chris Petrides, became first-time parents in 1997 at the ripe-old age of 45. So Sally was nearly an official senior citizen when her son Jack began the college selection process, and when she was finally able to practice what she had preached for more than three decades.

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