top of page


With the United States responsible for one-quarter of the global Covid-19 cases, and the number of daily cases reaching record highs worldwide, it’s easy to sink into a feeling of helplessness. When you layer this with the disparate plans that universities are adopting for the re-opening of their fall semester as well as controversial announcements by the DHS that prohibit international students from staying in the country if their courses are exclusively online, it can quickly add confusion, distress and unequivocal resentment.

Simply put, this is probably the most challenging environment that high school students have had to encounter. And while they may be tempted to retreat and watch Netflix or play video games all day in denial, I strongly believe that now is the time to break free from the trap; to do what their peers are not doing; to take charge of their summer and make it count.

Here are 7 suggestions to get started:

1. Think about a problem that you would like to solve or a skill that you would like to share with the world. Why is this important to you? How can you help to alleviate the issue in your own small way? Can you create a project out of it? (Bonus points for interweaving your solution with your academic interest)

2. Develop new skills by taking online courses in subject areas that interest you. I’ve worked with students who haven’t been particularly fond of academics in school but have LOVED the courses offered by Coursera. Choose from hundreds of courses including Social Media Marketing, Influencing People and AI for everyone.

3. Learn a new language or master one that you have already been learning.

4. Volunteer during this sensitive time. Check out for online opportunities near you.

5. Begin working on your college applications. This is especially important for rising seniors because once your school year begins, the Admissions Team is going to zero in on your performance in your first semester to determine if you are ready to take on challenging college coursework. Keeping this in mind, here are a few things you can do to get a head start in the summer:

  • Create your Common App account.

  • Brainstorm, draft, edit and finalize your essays.

  • Thoroughly research the colleges you are interested in applying to. Be super clear about what attracts you to that college or university. You will need to retrieve this information once you start writing the supplemental essay questions, so keep it accessible.

6. Research and apply for scholarships. This is another time-consuming process and you don’t want to leave this for your senior year.

7. Take a few career assessments if you are unsure of what you want to pursue in college. You may be surprised by the results.

We’re almost half-way through the summer already. Avoid any regrets. Make your summer ’20 memorable – beyond just Covid-19.

For more insights and guidance, get in touch!

Update: The policy for foreign students has been rescinded, a week after the decision was made to strip them off their visas if their classes were 100% online - a testament to how rapidly the college admissions space is changing. Universities are still awaiting final guidelines.


About Poojha Daryanani

Poojha graduated with an MBA from the Yale School of Management in 2003. While at Yale, she worked on the Admissions Committee of the school. This revealed to her how admission decisions are made on the inside at Ivy League universities, what components of the application are most important and how weaknesses need to be addressed. She loves to share this expertise with her students.

605 views0 comments


bottom of page