6 Tips for Planning a Productive Summer
If you think it is too early to start planning summer break, it’s time to reconsider! Planning meaningful experiences for June, July, and August can help high school students discover new passions, fine-tune ongoing interests, and gain inspiration for college applications and essays.
With summer application deadlines for specialized programs starting as early as mid-February, the time is now to start researching and brainstorming plans. Keep reading for a few tips to help you plan a productive summer that aligns with your academic passions and goals.
Avoid the stress of trying to make last-minute plans by getting a jump-start on reviewing summer options now. Reflect on what kind of programs and activities interest you most and align with your current needs and goals. Begin to compile a list of potential options within the next few weeks to give yourself plenty of time to research each choice, discuss theses ideas with your family, send in applications, and make an informed decision.
Do Your Research
The more you learn about each of the summer plans you’re considering, the easier it will be to create a plan tailored to your goals. Review any webpages you can find about the programs and activities you are considering and focus on what kind of learning opportunities are available at each. Reach out to program coordinators, potential internship supervisors, or any related leadership contacts with specific questions about day-to-day schedules and goals for participants. Reviewing a program or organization’s social media accounts can also help students learn more about the opportunity and the people they will interact with.
Focus on You
While it may be tempting to sign up for the same summer course your best friend enrolls in, it’s important to prioritize your own interests and goals when planning a productive summer. Consider what activities and school subjects interest you most and what types of opportunities will help you gain more expertise on these topics. If there is a cause you are passionate about, review opportunities to get involved or deepen your commitment throughout the summer.
Be Open to Different Kinds of Opportunities
There is no one-size-fits-all, best kind of summer plan for students. Consider multiple different kinds of learning experiences and opportunities, such as academic summer programs, internships, independent studies, and summer jobs. Approaching summer planning with an open mind gives students the opportunity to consider every possibility and make a unique choice that correlates with specific interest, passions, and goals.
Go Outside of Your Comfort Zone
Summer break is an opportunity for students to expand their horizons and discover new ways to learn outside of a typical high school setting. It can also be the perfect time to try something different, such as living in a new place or learning a new skill. Instead of limiting your search to options in your hometown, prioritize the opportunities that interest you most and consider stepping outside of your comfort zone to pursue them.
Manage Your Time
When it comes to scheduling summer activities, be sure to take into account existing commitments such as test preparation and family obligations. A student who is preparing for the SAT, for example, may wish to set aside several days each week for studying and plan additional activities around this schedule. Before signing up for a summer program or activity, consider when your academic classes begin and end and how this choice will align with your other commitments.
Planning ahead can help students make the most of their summer breaks and prepare for the college application process. If you are beginning your college search and looking for guidance, our team of admissions counselors can help you plan impactful summer breaks and discover your best-fit schools.