The real perfect high school summer is a blend of leisure time and learning something new. Yes, you should have a bit of structure to your days, but you should also give yourself time to kick back and relax!

Here are our top 10 summer activities that don’t require much advance planning:

    1. Set up a low-key local internship. While most formal internships require an application process, you might be able to use some connections (hint: friends of your parents or parents of your friends) to set up an informal internship.
    2. Register for an online course. Platforms such as edX and Coursera offer educational opportunities on demand in a wide range of topics. Some of these courses are free while others require a small fee; all have the option to receive a certificate of completion at the end.
    3. Work with a volunteer organization. Nonprofits and charitable organizations are always looking for people willing to lend a helping hand. Volunteering can open your eyes to the perspectives and circumstances of others, making you a more compassionate and caring citizen.
    4. Inquire about last-minute job openings. It’s always possible that some other high schooler has had to give up their seasonal job at the last minute, so it’s worth asking “dream organizations” if there are any open positions.
    5. Make casual college visits. Especially for rising sophomores and juniors, making a few college visits can be a great way to make the most of the summer months! Try to visit while summer classes are in session for the most authentic experience. These visits will start your wheels turning on what you are looking for in a college.
    6. Start an independent project. The scope of what an independent project can be is vast: making a documentary, writing a book of poetry, building a robot...the list goes on. Make sure you have a clear purpose and document your project as you go, as this will not only guide your efforts but also help you present this project on college applications.
    7. Organize a book club or movie club. Why not get together with friends to talk about a common interest? This lends structure to your summer, gives you some concrete “work” to do (reading or watching movies), and keeps you connected with your peers.
    8. Sign up for summer camp. It may not be too late to enroll in a day camp or even a sleepaway camp for part of the summer. Even a week or two away can break up what may otherwise seem like an endless stretch of unplanned days. It also exposes you to a host of activities, from arts and crafts to team sports, and helps you meet new people.
    9. Create a 90-day goal and document the journey. Do you have a habit you’d like to start—or break? This could mean eating healthily, meditating daily, spending less time on social media, or just about anything else you can think of. As with an independent project, if the journey is compelling enough, you can present this to admissions officers as something unique about you.
    10. Spend quality time with friends and family. Although it doesn’t always seem this way, high school flies by quickly. Making the effort to spend time with the people you value most will create cherished summer memories for years to come.

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