Summer Activity Ideas for High School Students
Summer is right around the corner, and, if they haven’t started already, high school freshmen, sophomores, and juniors need to make plans for how to spend those free months. For many students, summer break is seen as a time to take a break from school and soak up the sun – and that’s okay – but that’s not all they need to do.
When evaluating college applications, colleges will look at how students spent their spare time – including their summer. Colleges want to see students continuing their activities into the summer months, or exploring new opportunities that will help them learn more about an area of interest.
Summer planning should start at the beginning of the year as many summer programs have early deadlines. However, there are always a few late starters. For those last-minute planners, here are some ideas on how to spend your summer productively.
Volunteer. If you look hard enough you’ll find there’s no shortage of volunteer activities in your local community – especially during the summer when kids are out of school and there’s a lot of outdoor activity. Start by checking with your local Boys and Girls Club or other summer or after-school organization. If you have a passion for athletics, see if you can help lead a sports camp. Are you a theater buff? See if you can lead a group of students in putting on a play. Love music? Volunteer to perform a few times a week at a local retirement home. Identify a need in your community and see what you can do to fill the gap with your skills and interests.
Take a class. Becoming a specialist in an area of interest usually starts in the classroom. Look into taking a class that aligns with your interests at a local college this summer. Many colleges offer fun, continuing studies courses during the summer that you don’t have to be a full or part-time student to take. No classes of interest at a local school? Then try a MOOC! There’s a plethora of interesting MOOCs out there that can help you learn over the summer and deepen your interest in a particular area.
Create your own activity. If you can’t find a program, activity, or other opportunity that piques your interest this summer then create your own! Whether it’s starting a blog on a topic of interest, creating your own club or student organization, or developing a new community service project, the sky is the limit! By creating your own opportunities for a productive summer you’re demonstrating maturity, initiative, and a willingness to go the extra mile in order to learn more and make an impact in your community.
Get a head start on your college applications. The Common Application and some colleges release their essay topics for the next application season before the official Aug. 1 application open date. This provides rising high school juniors with the opportunity to get the bulk of their essay writing done before the school year starts. Use free time this summer to brainstorm essay topics, write and edit first drafts, and get feedback from your parents and peers. Once the school year starts back up, you’ll have most of the writing done and will be first to present your counselor with essays, giving you plenty of time to incorporate any suggestions before early deadlines.
How do you plan to spend your summer? Do any of these last-minute options appeal to you? Tell us in the comments below!