Summer may still be months away, but it’s not too early for high school students to begin thinking about how to spend theirs.
Summer activities don’t just keep students engaged. They are an important component of the college admissions process, helping students shape their narratives and differentiate themselves from a sea of excellent applicants.
The good news is that students don’t have to plan overscheduled summers to make the best use of this precious time. In fact, at Signet, we encourage teens to treat summer as a chance to recharge, rejuvenate, and nurture their interests in ways they don’t have time for during the school year.
4 Strategies for Planning Summer Activities
If you need a good starting point for helping your student plan summer activities that will benefit them during the college admissions process, here are four strategies to consider:
1. Developing existing interests
Has your student already demonstrated a strong interest in a particular subject area? If so, summer is a great opportunity for them to pursue real-world experience in their area of interest—and we’re not just talking about jobs and internships. For example, if your student loves writing poetry, consider enrolling them in a local writing workshop.
2. Gaining workplace experience
For some students, a job or internship is the best next step. These opportunities can expand your student’s horizons and introduce them to the reality of life after school. Internships, in particular, are great for students who are interested in a specific field but don’t yet have the credentials to be paid for work in that area.
3. Enrolling in a summer program
Many colleges and universities offer academic programs targeted to high school students. If, for instance, your student has their heart set on attending college in New York City, you may want to consider enrolling them in a pre-college program offered by a school in the area. That way, they can get a feel for what it’s like doing college-level academic work and living in their dream location.
4. Volunteering for a good cause
Volunteering is an excellent way for students to help their community and begin making connections that will serve them further down the road. Students who spend the summer volunteering come away from these experiences with a broader awareness of the world around them and a better understanding of responsibility and integrity.
What If My Student Is Too Young for Certain Summer Activities?
It’s important to note that freshmen and sophomores may have fewer options available to them when it comes to planning summer activities. For instance, pre-college programs typically target juniors and seniors, and jobs and internships may have age requirements that a younger student will not have met.
While it’s never too early to begin thinking about the college admissions process and the role that summer activities play in it, we advise younger students to prioritize resting and relaxing, spending quality time with family, and engaging with books, podcasts, and—yes—even TV shows that interest them.
For more guidance on planning summer activities, check out Signet’s Guide to Summer Planning. And if your student could use support discovering how they want to spend their time, contact us to discuss academic coaching.