Small Summer Goals That Lead to Big School Year Success

Summer is in full swing, and many students have gone from being fully immersed in school to the other end of the spectrum.

There’s nothing wrong with taking this time to relax and recharge. But at the same time, it’s not too soon to start preparing for the fall semester. Your student may not need to start subject tutoring or test prep today. But there are things they can do to set themselves up for a successful school year ahead.

When it comes to having a productive summer, we like to remind parents of the old adage, “small deeds done are better than great deeds planned.” Students can stay engaged in small but impactful ways without feeling too overwhelmed during their summer break.

Small Summer Goals for Students

Here’s how parents can help students meet small summer goals for big fall success:

Keep their brain sharp.

There are scientific ways to keep those neurons firing over summer break—and they’re simpler than you might think!

Exercising, keeping a regular sleep schedule, trying new things, and staying socially connected are all opportunities for your child to enjoy their free time while making sure their brain is primed for the next school year.

Work on executive function skills.

Executive functions are a set of cognitive processes (inhibition, planning, organizing, working memory, and emotional regulation) that help people get things done. Healthy executive function is one of the key indicators of academic success, so it’s a good area of focus during the summer.

One of the simplest ways to improve these critical mental skills is to establish micro-routines. Following 1-2 micro-routines on a consistent basis shows students that they’re making progress and prepares them for the bigger changes that lie ahead.

Practice time management.

Successful students know how to manage their time effectively. There are plenty of opportunities to practice this skill over the summer.

Encourage your child to keep a written or digital record of their schedule. They should include everything from their summer work hours to the plans they make with their friends. If they establish a system for organizing their schedule now, they’ll be accustomed to using it by the time the school year rolls around.

Encourage self-reflection.

High schoolers, understandably, are often unsure of what they want the future to hold, whether that’s their major in college or which courses they should take in sophomore year. We advise thinking of the summer as a chance for your child to spark or deepen a connection with something that speaks to them. As parents, you can offer your children opportunities to explore their interests and develop a strong sense of who they are.

For more helpful resources, check out Signet’s Guide to Summer Planning.

Sheila A.

Sheila A.

Sheila Akbar is President & COO of Signet Education. She holds a bachelor's degree and master's degree from Harvard University and two doctoral degrees from Indiana University. She joined the team in the summer of 2010, bringing with her a wealth of experience teaching SAT, ACT, GRE, literature, and composition in both one-on-one and classroom settings.

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