It’s summertime and what better time is there during the year than summer to read books for pleasure? If you’re a rising high school senior, reading for pleasure over the summer will give you the added benefit of improving your odds of admission to highly selective colleges. That’s right — highly selective colleges want readers. A love of reading, after all, conveys a deep intellectual curiosity and that’s precisely what admissions officers at these schools are looking for. Why would they want to admit students who don’t enjoy reading? They’d have one boring, intellectually inferior class then, now wouldn’t they?
Many high school students write about books in their college essays. And that’s a great thing! But too many of these essays focus on books that are obvious required reading in high school. Yes, “The Great Gatsby” is required reading at just about every high school across America. Same with “To Kill A Mockingbird.” And with “The Scarlet Letter.” Yes, “Hamlet,” too! Really — you think “Beowulf” isn’t required reading in most schools across this country? It is. Same with “Of Mice and Men.” You’re not fooling anybody!
So spend the summer reading books that aren’t on your high school’s required reading list. Walk around a Barnes & Noble. Smell the books. Touch the glossy covers. Peruse all of the books that you do and don’t want to read and pick some out to buy. Or sit in the store all day long and just read. Nobody’s going to stop you. Try to find a rocking chair. There are always a few in each store. It’s coveted real estate. Find books that you can really connect with and — maybe — you’ll be able to write about these books in your college admissions essays so that you come across as intellectually curious. Not to mention — you’ll enjoy reading the books and it’ll make you smarter!