“Summer afternoon… to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.” — Henry James
Remember when summer vacation meant sleep overs, lying by the pool, sleeping in and waking up without an alarm clock, and vegging on the couch watching hours of daytime TV?
Then you became a rising high school senior with college-bound plans!
While you are absolutely deserving of some down time during the next three months, you certainly need to also recognize the value in productivity as it relates to your college search.
Take a look at your current resume. What is lacking? An employment experience? Community involvement? Demonstration of leadership?
Here are some suggestions for meaningful summer activities:
There are plenty of chances for you to select one agency and create a set schedule for summer hours. You may also engage in a series of shorter stints at a variety of organizations instead of committing to just one. Volunteering provides a service to the community, refreshes your soul, and often also teaches you valuable skills that can be applied not only in your future personal life, but also in your professional career.
Whether in a retail situation, an office environment, food service, or babysitting, all employment opportunities are pleasing on the student resume and allow you to earn money for college. Look for opportunities to grow as a person and as a future professional in whatever summer job you do, even if it is not what you want to do with the rest of your life.
Read. Read. And read more. Absolutely find some mindless escapes, but also pay attention to books and magazines that will help you during senior year and beyond. Investigate current news headlines further and solidify your position on what is happening in our local community, our state, our country, and the world. Read books that challenge you. For a list of College Board’s suggested novels, click here.
There are several more testing dates early in your senior year, so summer is not a time to distance yourself from test preparation. Many students see a score increase from junior year to senior year, so give yourself a running start and plan in advance to raise your composite. The Question of the Day from both the College Board and ACT are an easy and daily example of keeping your prep front of mind.
Spend a day or half day job shadowing someone in a profession that interests you. Reach out to friends, family, and neighbors who may have a connection in the field. This is a great way to truly see what happens during “a day in the life of…”
Of course! Summer is an opportune time for most families to conduct college campus visits. Keep in mind, however, that you will likely not get to see the full effect of a school during summer, so if it is a campus that maintains your interest, consider it your first visit and make sure to return for a more realistic view while classes are in session.
Again, you truly must enjoy some time to relax during the next few months. But also make choices about your time that will be fruitful in helping to shape the next few years of your life.
**To read additional Examiner articles written by Steph Hart, click here or visit Essential Elements: Comprehensive College Planning.