It’s April, and if you’re a high school student, you’re probably starting to study for final exams or dreaming about the summer break that follows them. But don’t forget that summer break is also an important time for extracurricular activities. If you haven’t already planned out your summer, do so now to give yourself the best mix of productive, engaging activities and fun relaxation.
The summer is a great opportunity to explore your academic, extracurricular, and career interests in depth. Many (if not most) summer programs went virtual during the pandemic, but this year we’re seeing more in-person offerings again. But that doesn’t mean virtual programs are on the way out. Going virtual gave students access to programs they might not have had otherwise, and that’s a real benefit to keeping online programs around.
Keep in mind, though, that flexibility is the name of the game. We’ve seen plans change as the course of the pandemic evolves, but there’s good reason to be optimistic that this summer will provide substantive opportunities, both and virtually and in person.
After two years of virtual programming under our belts, you may find it’s easier to do something you love or try out a new interest online. Artists and musicians can find a huge variety of virtual classes, and often at a much lower cost than those offered in person.
Sports camps and theater programs are planning to go ahead in person this summer. So, for those of you who have been missing these opportunities for teamwork and collaboration, this might be a great time to dive in.
If you’re hoping to gain work experience, there’s also plenty to do. You can reach out to businesses to see if they have any shadowing opportunities, or you can offer to volunteer your services as an unpaid intern. If you want to earn some money over the summer, check your local listings for jobs in your area or look for remote work, which has become much more common now. You can also get involved in a political campaign, or if journalism is your thing, approach your local newspaper about submitting a few articles.
For the more academically minded, there are many summer programs to apply to. Summer is also a good time to do some serious reading on a subject that might not be offered at your high school. You might think you need to work with a professor on an intensive research project for colleges to take notice (which is great if you have the opportunity), but as long as you’re actively pursuing your interests, colleges will recognize that.
Finally, community service is always a rewarding and productive way to spend your time. Think about what you like to do and how you can turn it into a way to help others, whether that’s by reading to young children at the local library, teaching others a skill you possess, or volunteering with a local organization.
How you spend your summer is important for your college applications, and it helps you learn more about yourself and what your interests and strengths are. There is no one way to spend a summer that colleges prefer, or that “looks better” on a college application, as long as you are engaged in something interesting, challenging, or meaningful in some way.