- The Washington Times - Monday, June 23, 2014

Apparently, summer vacation for school children has taken on a new strategic tone — and it’s all aimed at having the right type of fun that will showcase well in college admission essays.

Parents with money are hiring experts to help their teen-age kids come up with a managed plan for the summertime vacations — one that will give them the edge in writing any back-to-school and college application essays that tout the theme, “How I Spent My Summer Vacation,” the New York Post reported.

The experts cost $300 per hour, the newspaper said.

“In terms of writing his college essays, it was pretty much a slam-dunk,” said Marla Isackson, 57, of New Jersey, who said she hired a “professional summer planner” to plot out two trips for her son, Josh, who now attends Yale, the New York Post reported. “We made an investment in our child. It was important to us and it was a priority.”

Josh’s trips included a couple of stints in China — after which he used his experiences to write a killer college essay, good enough to land him at Yale.

“When you apply to college, [they] look at a kid in his or her entirety in terms of interests and grades and standardized tests,” Mrs. Isackson said, the New York Post reported. “The kids want to present themselves as a story. The fact that China was a part of his story, I think, made his story much more authentic and believable — who is this kid, what are his interests, what makes him tick?”

The company, Everything Summer, usually starts the summer planning the preceding October.

But not all think the money for the service is well spent.

“If one can’t figure out how to spend his-her summer in a meaningful way, I worry about what is in store for that person when they arrive on a college campus, when they will be faced with far more opportunities and choices that require independent thinking,” said Shawn Abbott, dean of admissions at New York University, in the New York Post.

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