Summer isn’t all about work, but make sure you’re taking advantage of this free time. If you don’t already have summer plans, here are some ideas:
SAT/ACT prep. This probably isn’t the first thing on your list, and it might not even be on your list at all. But whether it’s taking a prep course or making time to study on your own, the summer is a perfect time to prepare for those pesky standardized tests. You probably don’t have much time during the school year to study and you definitely don’t want to take the test unprepared. Just a few hours a week can go a long way.
Get a job. If you already have a job during the school year, summer is a great time to get more hours and make some extra money. If you don’t already have one, seasonal jobs like lifeguarding, working at theme parks, summer camps or local fairs might be the easiest to get if you don’t want to continue working during the school year. If you go to a private school, there may be work study opportunities available during the summer as well.
Internships. These are hard to come by in high school because you don’t have much experience, but if you’re able to find an opportunity you should take it. Check with your school counselor, relatives, or the place you’re interested in working at to see if any internships are available.
Volunteer. Besides helping others, a volunteer opportunity could turn into a job or internship, or it might be a chance to meet people that could be a mentor or write a recommendation for you.
Take a class. If you need summer school, you might not have a choice. But sometimes high schools offer summer classes that are just for fun, or you might be able to get credits to skip classes during the school year. Classes during the summer are usually easier and more fun than during the school year. When I was in high school, I took a three week government course at Georgetown University through the Junior Statesman of America program. Not only did I get high school credit, I got a taste of what college would be like and I got to see a whole new city. You might also be able to take classes at a local community college and get college credit.
Do a summer program. There are a lot of summer programs available to high school students that you won’t have access to later on. Summer programs could be anything from training for a sport, attending a camp, going on a mission trip, or taking a unique class like the one I mentioned above.
Go somewhere new. Going outside your comfort zone can really change your view on life. If you live in the city, visiting at a farm might be a new experience. Volunteering in a side of town you don’t normally visit could give you a new perspective. Maybe you have an opportunity to go to a country you’ve never been before. Or perhaps your grandparents live in a different state and you haven’t visited them since you were a kid. Whether it’s across town or across the world, try stepping outside your boundaries.
If you have any experiences that change or motivate you in some way, write them down so you can go back to them when it’s time to write your essay.