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How To Use Your Winter Holidays

Posted on Dec 29, 2016
how to spend winter holidays - Blog

Christmas break is around the corner but with application deadlines edging closer, I’m sure the last thing on your mind are the festivities. I strongly recommend you enjoy the celebrations, but also use this holiday season to maximize the right set of experiences you can showcase in your college application.

  • Take your standardized test(s). Ideally, you should be done with the test(s) before you even start your application. However, if it is still pending, holiday season is the good time for you to intensively prepare and take your stipulated standardized test(s). Ensure that your score lies within the range of accepted scores at your targeted schools.
  • Dig deeper into extra curricular activities/interests you pursue through the year. If you play the piano, use the holidays to take the Trinity College or Royal School of Music exams. If you play a sport, train with coaches and practice hard. If you are passionate about foreign film, take online courses on film appreciation or volunteer with organizing local film festivals. Whatever your activities and interests, find a way to delve into them further over the break.
  • Get a short internship. Do you have a specific career you are looking to pursue post your degree, or any specific subjects that you would like to study further? Getting a part-time/full-time internship at a related company or organization will not only help you explore, but will also help you cement your interest in this sector. This is one of the most impactful ways that you can spend your holiday.
  • Scour college websites. Learn more about your target school’s curriculum, pedagogy and academic rigor. Research department webpages, core curricula, and the university news pages to discover timely advancements in faculty and student research and achievements. To imbibe a campus vibe, take a virtual tour, understand the university’s mission statement, read the campus newspaper, and look into career and academic advising support for international students.
  • Visit your selected colleges. Winter break provides a great opportunity for you to travel abroad and visit your targeted universities. Even though it’s not necessary to visit the universities before you apply, it does help with your decision process. Visiting the campus will give you a real sense of the atmosphere, the academic programs, fellow students, faculty, student life, local area, and much more.  Before you finalize your travel plans, contact the universities to find out when official campus tours are offered.
  • Speak to current students and alumni. Reach out to students and alumni of your target schools to get a deeper understanding of not only the various academic programs, but also life outside of the classroom. Learning more about your targeted colleges and courses not only gives you more insight for decision-making, but also provides more clarity for your essays or statement of purpose.
  • Streamline your social media presence. In a world that is connected 24X7, what you do online matters tremendously. Information that you share in the digital universe gets recorded and captured permanently. Clean up your current social media presence and utilize social media platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn to be an extension of your college applications, by appropriately posting comments and links to highlight strengths, skills and interests to give targeted schools authentic insight into your personality.

There could be a constant tug between spending time with family and friends, further delving into activities and preparing for the application process.  However by making the most of the holiday season you could potentially tip acceptance to your dream college in your favour!

This article was published in DNA on 16/12/2016.

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