How to maximize your high school summers
Making the most of your high school summers for college admissions
Summer vacation represents three glorious months of freedom from the school year. However, it is also an opportunity that should not be squandered. In this guide, we will talk about a few ways that you can have an amazing summer break (without spending a dime).
First, are really two things that you need to keep in mind for having a summer vacation with purpose:
- Students should be productive and spend their time constructively.
- Students should ideally be learning something or doing something that aligns with their interests (or needs). For instance, if you are passionate about chemistry or data science–go ahead and explore those areas. At the same time, if you need to have a part time job to earn money or take care of family members, that’s fine too.
That is really it.
In regards to the college admissions process, colleges know that you can do incredibly meaningful things right in your town or city, so there is no need to travel extensively or spend a lot of money.
Summer during COVID-19
Before we get into our summer suggestions, we know that this summer will be a little bit different. COVID-19 means that many students around the world will have limited opportunities (and some students may not be able to leave their homes extensively for the near future. This just means you have to be a bit more creative an embrace opportunities that may be available to you locally.
For the student who wants to make a social impact:
Chances are that the nonprofits or social impact organizations in your town or community are in need of volunteers. This is likely even true during these times as organizations are looking to do more and more online (so your internship or volunteering will be happening virtually). It is best if you look into organizations that are aligned with your interests. So if you are a history buff, maybe you can look into volunteering opportunities at your local historical society. Note that many opportunities may not be publicly available, so you may have to resort to cold calls or emails!
For the student who loves coding and computer programming:
Build something cool! Whether you want to build a website or the next awesome app, there are plenty of resources online to get you started. Best of all, many of these resources are free! Code Academy is one of the best resources, as it is project-based so you are learning, but building things along the way. Code Academy will allow you to try your hand at a variety of programming languages including HTML, CSS, Python, Java Script, Java, SQL, and Ruby.
For the student with a green thumb
Whether you live in a city, near the ocean, or in a rural place, there are plenty of ways to get involved and keep your community green. Sponsor a local cleanup at a beach or river, volunteer at a local organic farm (check out WWOOF for a farm year you), or work with a non-profit that supports environmental initiatives like the Sierra Club.
For the novelist
Dedicate a few hours a day to write. Additionally, you should consider joining a writing workshop group (online or in-person) to help keep you accountable and on track. The month of November is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), so you can keep the chapters coming!
For the student who truly does not know what they want to do
Get a job! It doesn’t have to be a fancy job–that is not the point. In fact, retail and food service-type jobs can teach you a lot about the world, having responsibility, and working with lots of different types of people. Plus, you get a paycheck at the end of the week! A summer job is one of the most underrated things a student can do (and also impressive in the eyes of admissions officers).
For the student who wants to earn college credit
This can be a great idea! Why not get a jump start on earning college credit (which can shave a semester or two off of your timeline, as well as a bunch of money). There are multiple options, including your local community college. Students should also check out MicroBachelors program through edX for affordable college classes. Modern States Education Alliance is another great source for free and affordable college-level classes.
Don’t forget to relax and recharge
The school year is stressful enough as it is, so you will want to take advantage of some time to rest, relax, and recharge. Catch up on that book you have been meaning to read, spend time with family, or stay up late watching movies. Your summer can be productive and still allow time for some fun, so don’t forget to take care of yourself!