What’s the best way to make the most of your summers during high school? Here are a few ideas to help you create a four-year-plan for the best use of your summers during high school.
I: Your Freshman Summer
At this point in your high school career you really don’t know where you’re going and what you’re most interested in. If you have a passion at that point, by all means pursue it. For example, if you’re a musician, try to find a music camp. If you play a sport, spend time with that. If you have a passion for debate, as I did, you can find a debate camp.
During your freshman summer don’t feel pressured to find something that looks good on your transcript. If you do have a passion, or if a community service opportunity opens up to you, pursue these paths. The most important thing is to make sure it’s something meaningful to you.
II: Your Sophomore Summer
Try to get yourself into the mindset of school before it starts. Don’t let everything you’ve learned during your first year in high school completely drop away. Keep your mind active and read during the summer. If you were struggling with a particular topic, or you think you’re going to struggle with one, get a copy of the textbook early to read through it.
III: Your Junior Summer
Working is a really good experience to have before you go to college. I spent most of my high school summers working. I wanted to do that because I wanted to feel productive and have a new experience during the summer.
Working makes you appreciate your free time more. It also gives you a little bit more freedom when you get into college because you will have some work experience and some savings.
College summer programs may be enjoyable and valuable, but I definitely wouldn’t see college summer programs as a ticket into a college. I think these programs are good for developing your passions and keeping you proactive.
College summer programs are also a good way to get a taste of a college campus that you might be considering.
IV: Your Senior Summer
Summer for senior year was really crucial for me in starting the college application process. I think most students start it at the beginning of their senior school year. To me, you’re immediately shooting yourself in the foot by doing that.
When school starts you will have all of your workload and all of your activities, so you may not be able to pay close attention to the college application process.
In summertime you have a lot more free time for sitting down, planning out the schedule of your applications, planning visits to colleges, thinking about essay topics that you want to write about, or even drafting essays so you can find people to read them before they’re due.
I think people who have the most solid applications and really feel confident are those who start early. It’s really crucial to start your college application process during the summer before your senior year so you can ensure that you have the time and attention to spend on your applications.