Summer tasks

Top 10 Summer Tasks for High School Students (and Families)

Summer flies by every year. It seems to disappear in the blink of an eye. Before another school year starts, let’s take advantage of summer while it lasts with these top 10 summer tasks. (We use the word “tasks”, but we intend for these to be fun and not a burden.)

1) Downtime

Let’s put downtime at the top of the list. Our high school students are super busy once the school year starts. (Some are super busy all year long.) So, let’s make sure they have downtime to play video games, ride their bikes, be with friends, and whatever else lights them up inside.

2) Volunteer

Yes, volunteering is great to have on a college application, but let’s volunteer because it serves a purpose, and we all feel better for having been a part of something important. This blog has some volunteer ideas. Have your student lead the search for an opportunity to help that means something to them. They will gain confidence and appreciation for others.

3) Visit a college campus

College campuses come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes–big, small, urban, suburban, rural. For some students, simply walking a campus can be a great way to get an initial feel for what college can be. Keep in mind, summer campus visits lack the school-year vibe because there are fewer students around. Also, don’t fall in love with a school simply because it is pretty or a has a nice downtown shopping area. Your final selections will be based on a much wider variety of criteria. But a summer visit to a campus is fun and encourages conversations about the future.

4) Explore interests

This exploration can come in many different forms. Read a book. Research something on the internet. Talk with an expert. Try out a new art form. Plan/take a day trip. Cook a family meal. Write a poem or a blog. Take a free online class. There are as many different ways to explore an interest as there are interests! All these experiences are valuable to future planning. Did I enjoy doing that? Do I want to learn more? Does it point me in a different direction?

5) Dig into self assessment and career planning

If your student is a rising junior or older, the time is now to do some more formalized thinking about what they are good at, their strengths, skills, values, etc. and how those relate to future careers and how to learn more about them. Summer spots for Guided Self Assessment fill up quickly (and may be closed when you read this blog.) But now is the time to book a 30-minute family meeting to learn if Guided Self Assessment is right for you and get on the calendar for fall.

6) Register for an event

Summer is ideal for learning stuff! Each summer we offer a sampling of timely webinars covering college planning, career research, ACT/SAT testing, paying for college, etc. Check out our events page on our website and register. All registrants receive a recording of the program, so you can watch at your leisure over the summer months.

7) Start a business

Students have been starting summer businesses for as long as there have been lemonade stands. Plan it out. What is your service (lawn mowing, dog walking, babysitting, tutoring, running errands, repairing computers, selling something)? Check out this list with 28 ideas. How will you market it and reach potential customers? Think about presale and follow up. Develop a work ethic and be your own entrepreneur.

8) Summer camps

Summer camps are another great way to explore an interest. We maintain a list of camps that is updated every year. Many summer camps have application deadlines, but some are open right up until shortly prior to the camp. If you are reading this blog and the deadlines have passed, set a reminder to revisit the list next year.

9) Reflect

Part of what we do in Guided Self Assessment is reflect on a student’s experiences. We tease out what the student learned about themselves. Students learn how to do this thinking—self assess and evaluate and take next steps with the help of a guide.
Most students can begin this reflection on their own. Keep a diary. Write about the past year—the courses they took, the activities they participated in, the fun memories they had. Write about what they hope for the future. Reflection is also a great time to practice some gratitude and notice the good things in their lives.

10) Get ready for back to school

Sadly, summer will come to an end. What is one thing we suggest families do to prepare for the school year ahead? Subscribe to our free newsletter.

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Enjoy the rest of your summer!

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