You could spend your summer break laying by the pool, working on your tan and not really getting much done. Sounds pretty good, right? international_flagsMaybe… for about a day or two. With the rest of the long, hot summer stretching before you, wouldn’t it be a lot more fun — and look a lot better on those college applications — if you got out there and actually did something this summer?

If you don’t have to get a job over the summer, consider an activity that’ll not only appeal to those admissions officers, but will also give back to society and be a fulfilling experience for you, too.

Join in the Mission

More and more students are discovering how great it feels to help others by going on mission trips. Imagine yourself teaching English in a classroom high in the Andean mountains or helping to build a school in Africa. If you want to stay closer to home, many missions place volunteers in settings such as homeless shelters or inner city organizations.

Mission trips allow participants to do good all over the world, and offer help where it’s needed most. If you decide to spend your summer break giving back, it’s essential to prepare. Visit your medical provider to ensure that you’re up to date on all your vaccinations, especially if you’re visiting a less-developed part of the world. Give yourself plenty of time to get your passport and travel documents in order, and make sure you protect yourself with mission trip insurance plans; international medical insurance provides you with medical coverage no matter where you are in the world.

Summer Day Camp

There’s a reason why summer camp has been a popular way to spend summer break for decades — it’s just so much fun! Not only do you get to meet new people, make new friends and hang out all day doing great activities, you just might learn something new, too.

Summer day camps offer a range of activities, from computer training to outdoor recreation and sports. Whether you want to hone your musical skills, learn a new language or spend time in the great outdoors, there’s sure to be a summer day camp that matches your interests.

Study Abroad

There’s no better way to experience the world than by living in another country for an extended period. This summer, why not enter a study abroad program? You’ll get the opportunity to live with a host family and gain first-hand knowledge of another culture. If you’re learning another language, study abroad programs immerse you in your chosen tongue, so it’s easier to become fluent.

Visiting Campus

If you’re trying to narrow down where you want to attend college, plan a road trip to check out some campuses. Many colleges offer tours during the summer; you may even be able to spend the night in a dorm and see what campus life is like. Though the student population may be a bit lower in the summer, it’s still the perfect time to explore your options and see what those schools are really like.

No matter what you choose to do with your summer, consider seeking out opportunities that will help fill out your college application forms. Today’s admissions officers are looking for more than just a good GPA and high SAT scores. Choosing your summer break activities wisely can help set you apart from the rest.