One of the significant realities that planning for future college and career placement hinges on how much thought, reflection and planning a student exhibits in looking at the series of summer breaks embedded in their four-year high school program. Unfortunately, many students do not look at the summer months with any strategic sensibility or planned perspective. It is a break from school studies and activities but high school students with any authentic ambitions and motivations must put some time and thought into how they can best use these months to expand their options and experience opportunities and insights that only come from moving out of the comfort of their “bubble” and diving into unknown “worlds”. There are many options within these options to enjoy experiential learning in new arenas of life and study: (1.) Study abroad programs that provide students with either foreign language and culture immersion or on-site studies done best abroad. (2.) Summer study programs at hundreds of colleges and universities seeking to attract highly motivated high school students to their campus for a “taste” of academic investigation within their programs. (3.) Internships and/or organized opportunities to conduct research or shadow particular career pathways. (4.) Service-learning experiences working with NGO’s or governmental agencies focused on building better lives for people and communities. This option can be combined with service-learning opportunities abroad in other countries. (5.) Development and implementation of a summer program of your own that provides a positive option for other youth within a community to enjoy and benefit from such as a summer soccer camp; chess camp; arts program; etc. (6.) Participate in a selective academic program such as a Governor’s School or by-application summer study program such as the options found at schools like MIT, Georgetown, Johns Hopkins, etc.
Colleges are looking for students that act on their passions and interests and use their summer months to expand their horizons and broaden their interests. It doesn’t mean to use the entire summer for activities such as these. Everyone needs some recuperation and rest during the summer too. It is a matter of balance.
I can recommend sites like http://www.enrichmentalley.com as clearinghouses of all the options and choices that students have in planning their summers with a more strategic plan in mind. It is easy to google phrases such as “summer high school programs in ________” and get a long list of possible options to choose from for future investigation. As a grey-bearded individual on TV commercials says, “stay busy my friends”…..