Guide to a Productive Summer
As the school year comes to a close, students are filled with endless free time. How can students plan a productive summer, feeling both renewed and accomplished before the next school year begins?
Find a Focus
Start by identifying what you want to accomplish this summer. Are you trying to achieve more academically, physically, or simply trying to find something interesting and fun? Here are some ideas for students ranging from elementary school to high school:
Elementary- Middle School:
1. Summer camp
Find something you are interested in, whether it be STEM, orchestra, or sports. Attending summer camps are such a great way to remain physically and mentally active while spending time doing something you love.
2. Summer school
With summer break, students go months without being academically challenged. A great way for students to retain the knowledge from the school year while further stretching their learning abilities is to enroll in summer school.
1. Get ahead on deadlines
During the school year, high school students are faced with numerous deadlines and responsibilities. Taking advantage of the time summer provides will greatly help with time management and stress in the future. If students are rising Juniors, maybe start preparing for the SATs or ACTs. Students typically find it difficult to study for an additional test during the school year. For rising Seniors, start drafting college essays. The college application process in the Fall will already hold a great amount of stress; try relieving some of it by starting in the summer.
2. Summer School
Completing course requirements
High schools typically have course requirements in order to graduate. By looking ahead and planning which courses you want to take in the future, options of completing a course requirement over the summer may interest you. For example, taking a gym requirement in the summer can open up a space for an elective.
Identifying academic weaknesses
Finding what subjects or topics your student struggles and actively working against these struggles can benefit them in the future. Most high school courses are continuous, meaning the content learned in previous classes are reused and built on. Seeking academic help will help students feel confident in their knowledge and prepare them for the next school year.
3. Explore Hobbies
Join programs that further your interests or use this time to explore new ones. For example, find internships or jobs where you can learn more about a possible work field that interests you. Other options include finding volunteer opportunities or finding a job.
4. Passion Projects
Passion projects are where students start up an activity or organization on their own. These passion projects not only will make students feel rewarded in developing something themselves, but also help students stand out in the college application process. Summer is a great time to take action and take on a passion project.
Research and Registration
After narrowing down your focus of the summer, if needed, spend time researching which programs will help you succeed. There are plenty of remote opportunities or in-person options around your area. Colleges such as Virginia Tech, Stanford, and Harvard offer great summer programs for students. Or find volunteer opportunities with the help of websites such as volunteermatch.org. Note that some programs open registration as early as February, so the sooner you register, the better.
Planning a productive summer and having a productive summer are two separate things. Set yourself accountable by creating lists and setting goals. Make sure these tasks and deadlines are reasonable. Remember, summer is still a time to relax; planning too much on your plate can lead to discouragement, so having a balanced schedule is the way to success.
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