Make This Summer Count!

As mask mandates are lifted along with other restrictions that accompanied COVID-19, life is slowly starting to return to normal.  After spending over a year buried in homework and unable to leave their homes, most kids are looking forward to turning off their computers, hanging out with friends, and venturing back out into society. 

What does your teen have planned for the summer?  Using summer months wisely can boost college applications as well as help your child make decisions about career pathways.  With that said, I also firmly believe in preserving some down time in the summer months.  Kids and parents need to catch their breath, reconnect as a family, and have some fun!  With sixty days of unstructured time on the horizon for most teens, let’s think about ways their time can best be utilized.  

How to fill those long, hot summer days?  Check out Teen Life for a list of academic programs, art institutes, and volunteer opportunities.  Some of the programs do have fees associated with them but there are some free activities available as well.  

Don’t overlook places like the YMCA, local community centers, and your church where your child can find employment and community service opportunities.  Some hospitals and animal shelters often welcome helping hands and sometimes provide job shadowing for students considering a field in medicine.  For students who are thinking of careers like business, law, or technology, reach out to companies in your community and ask if they are willing to take on high school summer interns. 

For the more scholarly students who love learning, take a class over the summer–honestly, the same applies for students who detest school.  For both, it is an opportunity to get ahead, possibly improve their GPA, reinforce an old skill or learn something new.  Look up course offerings at your community college or state university.  High schools also offer summer courses–check with your school to see if you can improve a grade on your transcript by taking a summer class or move ahead in a subject in which you excel.  Looking for something free?  Take advantage of iTunes University, podcasts, and your public library.

If your child loves to travel, book a trip.  While traveling, be sure to stop by college campuses for an official tour or quick drive through.  Traveling some place out of the country?  Take time to learn about the history, culture, and language of the place you plan to visit.  Love traveling but have limited funds?  Tour your own town or nearby cities!  Peruse museums, hike national parks, and visit historical landmarks.

Want to make money? There is always the ever popular summer job.  Spend days by the pool or beach lifeguarding, scoop ice cream at Friendly’s, work as a cashier at the grocery store or sales associate at a favorite store.  For those with an entrepreneurial mindset, while they may have out-grown lemonade stands, there are still lawns to be mowed and babysitting, among many other things!  Decide early what percentage of summer earnings will be put aside for college.

Whatever your child’s summer activity, think of it as a nice addition to their resume/college application, a potential college essay, career exploration, and perhaps even a topic of conversation during a college interview.If you have a rising senior, set aside time each week this summer to work on college application materials.  Discover essential tools for completing applications and writing memorable essays at the Tools to Get Ahead: College Application & Essay Webinar on Tuesday, June 15 at 6:30 pm EDT.  The first 25 people who register are eligible to receive a 30 minute complimentary consultation to help you and your future college student get started!  Register now!

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