So the school year is over, and as a parent or student, you've had to deal with a lot this year. As a parent, you've dealt with work at home, work at work, homework, teachers, school functions and whole lot more. As a student you've battled through the year, done hundreds of homework assignments, take hundreds of tests and quizzes and somehow, you survived and made it o the end.
You'd think that after all this, you'd be able to relax and unwind during your time off, but, sadly enough this isn't the case; and within a week or two of being out of school, as a student, you're looking for something to do; and as a parent, you're looking for a way to get your child out of the house.
Many parents and student's alike ask the all too common question: "What should I / my child do this summer" that we figured we would answer this question in a dedicated post.
In this post, what we're going to do is break down the best activities students should do during their time off in the summer that will have the largest impact on helping them not only get into the schools of their dreams, but become well rounded, incredible people as well.
With that being said, let's dive in.
What should do this summer?
This question has been asked hundreds of times in hundreds of ways, and the best answer to it is a little complicated. In fact, there are different activities student's should focus on at different points in their lives to put them in the best position to get into some of the schools they dream of. By following this timeline, a student can check off many of the critical milestones important when applying to college and put themselves head and shoulders above everyone else in standing out at the time of application.
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But, in a nutshell, students need to focus on very different things at different points in their academic life cycle. Loosely speaking, before high school, students should focus on developing and cultivating a wide range of skills and talents in a number of different things while simultaneously developing their social skills and relationships with their peers. Once in high school, in their first two years especially, students should focus on honing in on skills they excel in to truly set themselves apart once they become an upperclassman at their school. Finally, once a student is an upperclassman (a junior in high-school) they should focus on structuring their resume in the best way possible so as to appeal to the colleges they apply to in the fall of their senior year.
This general plan, or timeline, ties heavily into the best way students can spend their summer so as to stand out by the time of their college applications; and what a student does during the summer at the various points in time will affect how well they are able to distinguish themselves from their peers when the time comes to apply to the same schools.
Now that we've set everything up, let's go into what a student should actually do during this time.
What do I actually do?
What should I do if I am not in high-school?
To start, students who aren't in high-school have nothing to worry about when it comes to the way they spend their summer. They can choose to simply play with friends, travel, and enjoy themselves in any way they see fit. None of the actions they take during this time have any substantial impact on their college futures so anything they do during this time is 100% okay.
The only suggestion we have for students who aren't in high school is to socialize, whether this be through play or at a camp, as much as possible with friends as this period of time is a crucial time for developing social skills which will be very beneficial later in life. Furthermore, if possible, a little bit of academic learning during this time would go a long way in developing critical skills like comprehensive reading, critical thinking, and analytical thinking which will pay tremendous dividends down the road.
What should I do if I'm a freshman?
Once a student enters the early part of their high school career (their freshman and sophomore years) what they do in the summer starts to matter. For students who are a little more academically inclined, we recommend that, if possible, they spend the summer of their freshman year taking course credits at their high school to skip ahead in a course of their choosing. By doing this, they start their sophomore year just a little bit ahead of the other students in their class and start the process of separating themselves from their peers. By simply doing this one thing, doors will be open to this student allowing them to get even further ahead, leaving the rest of their peers behind as they fly forward.
What should I do if I'm a sophomore?
The summers following a student's freshman year are much more regimented than the ones before. Starting with their sophomore year, we recommend that students do specific activities in order to put themselves in the best position to succeed. In the summer after a student's sophomore year, we suggest that they participate in some sort of volunteer work and most importantly, start preparing for the SAT. This is a double edged strategy as it helps a student do two things: 1) Many colleges and universities look for students who have participated in acts of community service and it helps them stand out in that way; highlighting to the college or university they hope to attend that they are community conscious and would make a great addition to their community; and 2) It sets a student up to take their first SAT exam in the fall of their junior year, giving them ample time to get an exceptional super-score in their following attempts taking the test. By doing these two things, a student will set themselves up to be in a fantastic position by the spring of their junior year when they are finalizing their resume in anticipation of the college application season the summer after their junior year.
What should I do if I'm a junior?
The summer after a student's junior year is the most important summer of their high-school career. This summer, a student should be focused on traveling to the different colleges they may be interested in attending as well as focusing exclusively on their college applications in order to make them the best they can possibly be by the fall. We recommend that during this summer, students dedicate most of their time towards applying to college, visiting various colleges, and / or studying for a final SAT test if they haven't already taken at least second one previously. Doing all of this will put them in the best position to get into the school of their dreams by the fall of their senior year; and all the hard work they've done over the last three years of high school will finally pay off.
What should I do if I'm a senior?
The summer after a student's Senior year is 100% open to them. They can, and should, hang out with their friends one last time before going to college, travel, volunteer, do anything that their heart desires because at this point, they've gotten into a college and are free to do whatever it is they wish before they enter their freshman year at college.
These are what we recommend that students do before they enter their freshman year of college throughout the course of their lives as students.
Before High School
Before high-school we recommend that students simply socialize with their friends and maximize the amount of experiences they have to develop different skills such as learning languages, playing different sports, playing different instruments, etc. because at this time they will have the time to expand their opportunity the develop these skills as mush as possible before they will really need to focus on a few to really make exceptional in high-school.
The summer after a student's freshman year, we recommend that they incorporate a little bit of academic study into their plan for that summer. Whether this may be skipping a class at their high-school entirely or simply studying the material beforehand in order to be well prepared by the time they get to school, we recommend that students add this to their routine in addition to any summer plans they have.
The summer after student's sophomore year, we recommend that they do some sort of volunteer work in conjunction with studying for their first SAT test for the fall of their Junior year. Volunteer work would look fantastic on their resume, and by studying for their SAT in the summer of their sophomore year, they'll be leagues ahead of other students by the fall of their junior year.
The summer after a student's junior year they should spend that time strictly focusing on working on their college applications, and if need be, studying for the final SAT they will be taking the fall of their Senior year.
Finally, after it's all over, the summer after a student's senior year is entirely in their hands to do as they please. They should enjoy themselves and reward themselves with an amazing summer for all the hard work they've put in over their last 4 years to get to this place.
Next Post: Extracurriculars That Make You Stand Out ->
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