5 Activities Proven to Boost Selective University Applications

In previous posts, I have written about the importance of a part-time job and extracurricular activities, including volunteering, to give high school students better opportunities to apply for scholarships and to gain admittance to selective programs. Although it is trickier to do this now, during the COVID lockdown, finding activities that will help them gain valuable skills is possible.

Here are 5 ideas for summer activities that can still keep your teen safe, while gaining valuable skills.

Virtual Volunteer  

If your teenager thinks they are interested in studying community services such as social work,  volunteering is an excellent opportunity for them to learn more about themselves and build the experience they need to show in their post-secondary school applications.

Not only does volunteering add to their resume, but before 2020 high school students in Ontario were required to complete 40 hours of civic engagement to obtain the Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD).

One resource for young people to find both in-person and virtual volunteer positions is a platform called “I Want to Help.” It has an excellent resource section to allow the user to test their skills to understand which areas would suit them and provides the contact information for different volunteer agencies across the country.

Start a Company

If your child is between 15-29, they may be eligible for up $3,000 to kick off a summer company through a program in Ontario called Summer Company. Unfortunately, the deadline to apply for this year was May 17, 2020. Still, this program has been offered every year, and this summer would be an excellent time for your teen to prepare their business plan and go through the steps to prepare the application for 2021. If they have a great idea and don’t need the start-up money, they can still go ahead with their plan make some money and have a strong activity for their resume.

Get Ahead with Academics

Perhaps your teen enjoyed online schooling these last few months, and they want to get ahead with a few more courses before they head back to school this fall. They can take a high school course online through their school board or explore an interest in a subject through EdX.org, Udemy, Khan Academy, Coursera, Academicearth.org. By taking a course in a subject they think they are interested in studying they can decide if it truly is of interest, become familiar with the jargon and will be able to show on university applications their dedication to the subject.

Start a Research Project

Research can be as simple as documenting a plant growing,  or as advanced as the online Pioneer Research Program undergraduate-level research opportunities to high school students. Because the Pioneer Research Program is selective use the summer to prepare the application for 2021.

Learn a Language

Learning a language has many benefits such as improving memory, and increasing attention span, and has been shown to help with math skills, not to mention having a free translator if you travel to that country where it is spoken. If they fall in love with it they can enter an exam to record their level and have another item to place on their resume.

Yes, these are trying times, and it does not seem to be temporary, so to make the best out of the summer and keep your teenager engaged and focused on their future, consider sharing these ideas with them.


May 22, 2020


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