Yes, you’ve worked hard this year, and you deserve a break. But after a week or two of rest, you’ve got a great chance to use that time to your advantage.
Here are a few ways students can make the most of summer months (and still have time to relax).
1. Informational interviews
A great use of any high school student’s time is to read the fantastic book “What Color Is Your Parachute? For Teens” which will help students start thinking about career paths so that they can make more informed decisions about college, majors, etc.
One of the fantastic suggestions that the author makes is to schedule Informational Interviews. Basically, this means:
- thinking about what kinds of fields they might be interested in
- reaching out to their adult network to find people who work in those fields
- asking to meet with those people for 15-20 minutes to learn about what the field is like
If your son or daughter can meet with 10 adults this summer to learn about fields they are considering for college/career, it can be extremely consequential (and can potentially save your child a lot of time down the line if they realize after a few 20 minute conversations that this may not be the field for them). It can also help create connections that could lead to internships later as well!
2. Prep for a challenging class
What is the class that your son or daughter is most concerned about next year? Spending an hour or two a day previewing that class can make a huge difference in their confidence at the start of the year. Even doing nothing more that pre-reading each chapter in a history or biology book can make a big difference. Doing further by taking notes or mind-mapping each chapter, or even answering review questions at the end of each chapter, can turn what would have been a challenging class into a much easier one.
You can find out what book the class will be using by contacting the school library and can find a used copy online for cheap. (Bonus: Having an extra copy at home during the school year means your child doesn’t need to drag it back and forth to school.) Even if only older editions of the book are available, they’ll still serve for the summer.
English classes will also often read the same books each year. Why not get some (or all) of them read over the summer?
3. Math review using ALEKS
Maybe your son or daughter doesn’t have the strongest math foundation, or there was that one math class that they got through, but it just didn’t “click” for them. ALEKS is a terrific math assessment software that can help a student quickly identify gaps in their knowledge and fill them much more quickly than working through an entire math textbook.
For motivated students, spending 30 minutes a day on ALEKS for a couple of months can turn a student who was math phobic into the most confident student in the class next year. Meet with a tutor as needed to get unstuck on the trickier topics.
4. Tackle a reading list
Taking the SAT, ACT, or AP English next year? Dig into some recommended reading lists and get familiar with the types of works that these tests will reference. How great would it be to have a critical reading passage from a book you’ve actually read? Or an essay topic that exactly fits a book you’ve read? Up the odds by diving into lists like these:
- Most frequently cited books on the AP Literature exam
- Reading list for AP English Language exam
- College Board recommended reading List for college bound students
Don’t get overwhelmed…no one is expecting a high school student to have read all these books. But the more you read, the more practice you’ll have. Not to mention, it’s good practice and you might actually enjoy them!
Whatever it is that your child decides to do with their summer, my advice is to help them create a schedule. It’s easy to procrastinate on things that don’t have a deadline (even if it is something that the student wants to do!)
What are your kids’ goals for the summer?