Summer break is right around the corner, and for high school juniors, it’s important for them to start thinking about how to use the free time to move forward with their college and career goals. For many students, the summer before their senior year could be the last chance to put something spectacular and memorable on their college applications that will set them apart from the crowd. The summer break is also an excellent time for them to get a better idea of what they want to focus on in college and in their future careers. Here are some options to help students get an idea of what they can do over summer break:
Enroll in an Enrichment Program
There are many programs available for every field and interest; however, a common problem is the lack of resources to find or pay for them. The Enrichment Programs database in Naviance can alleviate this problem by helping students search for summer programs by category and location. If your school uses Naviance, make sure Enrichment Programs are enabled in Family Connection, then direct students to the Colleges tab, where they can find Enrichment Programs located in the College Research section. Students can also check local college and university websites for sports camps or academic courses, or even take an MOOC (massive open online course) for free!
Apply for an Internship
The best way for students to decide if they’ll like a future career is to jump right in and take it for a test drive. The experience they’ll gain, not to mention the contacts and new resume content, is invaluable. If students can’t find any openings, have them try to contact local companies they would be interested in working for and ask about shadowing one of their employees on the job.
Volunteer in Their Field of Study
Volunteering is especially important if students want to work in the social services industry, but it can also be valuable to almost any type of career. Have students that are interested in marketing? They can volunteer to help create a newsletter for local SPCA group or other charities. Law enforcement? How about the neighborhood watch? The key to finding relevant volunteer work is to be creative, but not too creative. Help students make sure the organizations they volunteer with are still relevant to their future college majors or fields of study.
Tour All of Their Prospective Colleges
This is a no-brainer. One of the best ways to spend a summer vacation is by visiting prospective colleges and universities. If students are interested in attending several different schools, they should take some time to visit as many as they can, in order to narrow down their lists. Instruct them to speak with any students or teachers that are still on campus, and see what the surrounding town is like. Although summer is the optimal time to get these tours in, students should also plan to come back in the fall when school is in session before making their final decisions.
Create Something Unique
We’ll call this one “independent study.” For students that are having trouble with any of the above activities, help them think of a way to create something unique instead. Maybe their family is going on a vacation this summer. They could film a documentary or write about their experiences in a blog or journal. They could try starting a small business like selling crafts on Etsy.com or create a lesson plan for the high school English class they hope to teach one day. The key is for students to take their passion and make something tangible out of it. Students can write about their experience on college applications, and unique personal projects and passions will make your students more memorable.
For high school juniors, the summer before their senior year is a great chance for students to get out and explore, gain a new perspective, serve the community, or develop a talent or passion. Let’s help them put the time to good use and hopefully have some fun at the same time!