If you’re reading this and it’s February or March, then NOW is the time to start planning for the summer.
It may seem a little early, but as a parent, you know that time goes quickly, and February/March is an ideal time to begin planning for summer activities.
So what should your child be planning?
We often say that there is no one-size-fits-all or magic formula. What your teen chooses should be based on their interests and goals. Carefully consider their unique circumstances and plan accordingly.
Why do we care about what students do over the summer?
Summer is a great time to work on building the college application resume.
During the summers, students aren’t encumbered by the academic schedule, homework, or extracurriculars and have more time to explore other activities that interest them.
Time is valuable when you’re a high school student trying to fit many things into a busy academic schedule.
What activities should your child do over the summer?
We like to say: Something is always better than nothing.
Here are some ideas for summer activities for high school students:
Volunteer or Intern
Ask your child to think about what they enjoy doing and find an organization or place to volunteer their time to help others.
Teens can reach out to local organizations or companies to see if there are any opportunities to volunteer or intern.
School counselors can also help with ideas, and there are online sites that can pair volunteers with local charities.
Get a Summer Job
Employment, whether full-time or part-time, demonstrates responsibility, independence, time management, initiative, and working with others.
There are many job options other than the traditional office or store environment. Consider freelancing roles, remote work, and even starting their own business (e.g., lawn care, babysitting, selling homemade crafts).
Take Summer Classes or Study Abroad
Summer is a great time for students to explore or build upon an interest they didn’t have time for during the school year. This can be music classes, art workshops, or sports activities.
Look for classes at local community colleges, summer camps, and there are also wonderful online options.
Study for Standardized Tests
Many Seniors take the SAT or ACT in the fall semester, so the summer prior is an excellent time to prepare if additional study is needed.
Please note that it’s important not to overdo this and stress out your child. Avoid making the summer a repeat of the stress and pressure that students might feel during the school year.
Visit College Campuses
Summer may be the only time you and your child can get away from your busy work and school schedules to visit college campuses.
If this is the case, see if you can schedule a campus tour and meet with an admissions counselor.
While we suggest visiting when college classes are in session to experience the campus vibe, we recognize this isn’t always possible.
Should you enroll your teen into “pay for play” programs, and how do college admissions perceive them?
While programs, like study abroad or overseas volunteering, can sometimes be perceived as “pay to play” by college admissions, there is still enrichment involved when participating in these programs.
So don’t discount paid programs if you or your teen finds a perfect one that suits them. Your teen will still learn new skills and demonstrate independence.
But, paying a huge price tag for summer activities is not essential. There are countless options that are economical and even free. If you need ideas, reach out, and we can help guide you.
What if the only activity your teen does is stay at home?
Some students, especially older children, don’t have a choice but to stay home and look after their younger siblings while their parents are working.
Parents and students often overlook this reality and don’t even mention it to their college counselors or on college applications.
But babysitting or nannying is still a form of responsibility since it involves overseeing others and taking charge.
Don’t overlook this, and do consider it as a valid summer activity.
Should your child pack the summer full of activities?
While we recommend doing something over nothing during the summer break, we believe rest is also essential.
School is stressful, with so much pressure to perform and succeed. Students need time to recharge and regroup to start the new school year refreshed and prepared.
Figure out what works best for you and your child – whether taking a break at the beginning or end of summer or between summer activities.
They can mix it up, work for a bit, volunteer for a bit, then rest for a bit.
Again, try not to make summer stressful as well. Have fun, go on vacation, and spend time with family and friends.
Allow your child to find the magic of summer and create life-long memories.
Reach Out If You Need Help
Feel free to contact us if you’d like to discuss this topic further.
We offer a free discovery call, and we’re happy to discuss how to get started searching for summer activities, or you can just pick our brains about activities that would best suit your child.
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