The summer is the most important part of your extracurricular section. It shows all three of the essential qualities, passion + initiative + authenticity. You should choose a summer program that not only extends your school year work, but also increases your knowledge and expertise beyond the normal school year progress. This includes everything from volunteering with a non-profit to attending a camp or workshop over the summer. Taking a summer job is also a great way to show that you did not waste the summer hours sipping lemonade. The key to successfully using your summer is to build your passion, and not just taking up time. I would recommend against enrolling in any program just because it takes place on your dream college’s campus. It is okay if that is one of the criteria in choosing a program, but never let it be the sole criteria, as it will be apparent to the admissions committee. Finally, make sure you twist it up every summer, so that you are not doing the exact same program year after year. The summer before your senior year is especially important, and should be used to finalize your interest and prepare you for your last year with your favorite high school activities.
These are some programs that are popular among high school students. This is by no means an exhaustive list of nationally recognized programs. Boy’s/Girls States