Strategies for A Successful Summer Break
Ah, the summer. Time to put your feet up and spend the next two-a-half months sleeping in and watching Netflix, right? Well, not exactly. During high school, the summer months are an invaluable time to take advantage of opportunities you don’t have time for during the school year. It’s also a fantastic chance to explore new interests, try new activities, and learn new skills – all of which can help strengthen your college applications. So although you should factor in relaxation, you’ll feel much better in September if you’ve made the most of your time away from school by adopting these strategies for a successful summer break.
Make Higher Education Planning a Priority
For high school students, the summer provides an excellent opportunity to do some serious thinking about your higher education goals. If you’re planning to go to college, you’ll be at a massive advantage if you’ve already given some thought to where you want to apply – and how you’ll pay for it. It’s never too early to start strategizing about how to make college more affordable, so schedule in some time to send off those scholarship applications and financial aid forms and to set aside money that you earn this summer for your college fund.
To set yourself up for higher education success, start thinking about taking the SAT or the ACT if you haven’t already. Purchase a test prep book, or enroll in a test prep course to master the content and hone your test-taking skills.
Talk to your parents about going on some college visits. The summer is the perfect time to check out the schools you’re interested in and get a feel for what they’re really like, beyond the websites and glossy brochures. Plan ahead to get the most out of your visit by making sure you have a list of on-campus facilities you want to tour and questions you want to ask current students and faculty members.
Find a Job or Start Your Own Business
Regardless of your plans for after high school, the summer is an excellent opportunity to apply for a job or become a teen entrepreneur.
Suppose you’re interested in earning money for college or saving up for a special purchase or trip. In that case, many summer jobs are perfect for teenagers, such as lifeguarding, working as a camp counselor, retail, and food service.
Or, consider your strengths and start your own business. You can be your own boss and set your own hours if you start a tutoring company, dog walking service, or babysitting business. Just make sure you’re prepared for additional responsibilities such as emails with customers, marketing, and getting any necessary permits.
Try Something Completely New
The summer is the perfect time to take risks and embrace new challenges. To make this a truly successful summer, why not try something you’ve never done before?
Whether it’s taking up a new sport, enrolling in a pre-college program, traveling to a new destination, volunteering, or applying for an internship, you’ll undoubtedly find opportunities to expand your horizons, often without leaving your hometown.
Besides the personal growth and enrichment that these experiences offer, demonstrating that you used your summer creatively and constructively is a great way to impress college admissions counselors and boost your resume.
Start Learning the Life Skills You’ll Need as an Adult
Most high schoolers look forward to the increased independence of adulthood, but being an adult also involves numerous additional responsibilities. Getting acquainted with these responsibilities while you’re still a teenager can make the transition to college and adult life much easier.
Use the summer months to prepare for these challenges and opportunities. For example, if you don’t have your driver’s license, consider enrolling in a driver’s ed course or asking your parents to drive with you if you already have your learner’s permit. In the current era of rideshares and digital interaction, fewer young people get their driver’s licenses than they did a generation ago.
While learning to drive may seem daunting, it’s a skill that you’ll never regret having. You could also use the summer to learn and practice valuable life skills such as cooking and doing laundry, going to bed and waking yourself up, scheduling doctor’s appointments, opening a bank account, and making a budget (there are numerous free apps that make this easy) so that you can stay on top of your monthly expenses and save for the future.
Factor in Plenty of Time for Relaxation
One of the best ways to ensure that your summer is successful and productive is to leave plenty of time for relaxation. After all, you’re far more likely to put in the hours studying for the SAT or finding yourself a great summer job if you also have the opportunity to relax and recharge.
Bear in mind that relaxing doesn’t necessarily mean staring at a screen, though. Although streaming your favorite movies and TV shows – or chatting with your friends on social media – is ok in moderation, find other ways to unwind that don’t involve your smartphone or laptop. Going for a walk, cooking or baking, reading a great book, writing in a journal, and taking day trips with friends or family are fantastic ways to relax while also unplugging from technology.
If you can strike the right balance between productivity and relaxation, you’ll be guaranteed to make this your most successful summer yet.