Summertime is here and already your tweens and teens are restless. One thing they can do to keep engaged over the summer is to start to think about preparing for college. Colleges look to build well-rounded incoming freshman classes. They want students who are committed to activities and who can bring passion and leadership. What can your student do during the summer months that will keep them engaged and help them to sharpen their skills for the future?
Volunteer: Help your student to find a club, church, community group, library or possibly a neighbor that could use the skills and help of a young person. Mowing, landscaping or computer help are a couple of ideas. Students should keep track of their volunteer hours and submit them to meet any community service graduation requirements.
Get a job: It can be difficult to find a job if students don’t start searching until June, so encourage your student to get out there in May to comb the neighborhood. In casual, clean attire, students can drop in at all kinds of business establishments and politely inquire about a job. Taking along a short resume with contact information and a list of skills/strengths is a good idea.
Read: Read, read and read. Both the SAT and ACT have an emphasis on reading comprehension and interpretation. Readers are likely to score higher on both exams. It doesn’t matter what they read, as long as students are interested and involved. Encourage them to get a library card (if they don’t already have one). Libraries and bookstores are also great places to explore during family travel or vacation.
Develop a hobby: Summer is a great time for students to try out new interests or to discover/develop a hobby or talent. A student with a well-honed skill has something specific to offer. These skills may also serve your student well in school where student leadership is needed and desired. Students who can “sell their skills” appropriately can also set themselves apart from others.
Summer camp/enrichment programs: Many colleges and other institutions offer summer camp or enrichment programs that invite high school students to come to their campus and focus on a specific academic topic or personal skill such as leadership or debate. Some programs will charge a fee, others will be free, and many help defray the cost by offering scholarship opportunities. Students can check out their school’s homepage or counseling website for these types of opportunities. Encourage your student to research the Internet, talk with their school counselor, or visit their learning enrichment specialist for more ideas.
Other activities that your students can be doing over the summer months are visiting colleges, finding internships or taking ACT/SAT prep classes. Don’t forget that summer is also a time for kids to recharge their batteries and to give their brains a break. Sometimes it’s OK to forget about the future and just have fun.