In every yearbook on the last day of school, there’s at least one message of “have a great summer!” Summers are a great way to explore your interests and gain an advantage for the college admission process, making it a smart step to have a successful summer as well.
The summer after sophomore and junior year is an especially important time for students. Students may use these months to flesh out their extracurriculars or academics, which can strengthen their resumes and broaden their minds. Summer is a chance for students to pursue outside activities that they may not have had time for during school.
Contrary to popular belief, there is no “right way” to spend a summer but rather a multitude of ways to utilize your time. One popular option is summer internships, which provide experience and exposure to a desired field as well as a stable income. Internships also forge connections that can later assist with finding a career and other future opportunities, and they may even allow teens to assist research studies.
“An internship is great for making connections and getting a taste of the work field before you actually join!” explained Hyeji Suh, a rising senior at Valencia High School in Valencia, California. “Speaking more technically, it can also bring you service hours and recommendation letters. I think it’s fairly easy to find an internship, but you need to be willing to ask around and look for it.” Hyeji will be an intern for California Representative Alan Lowenthal during this summer.
Colleges and universities also offer summer programs for either tuition or no cost. These programs consist of two-week to two-month courses at the host college and collaborative activities and projects that prepare students for college-level work and expose them to fields of study. Some programs include the Yale Young Global Scholars Program, the Princeton Summer Journalism Program, and the Emory Pre-College Program.
Since internships and summer programs can get quite competitive, students can also spend their summers engaged in local volunteer activities or jobs. Volunteering and work experience, even part-time, establishes essential skills such as responsibility and time management, so they are also a respectable addition to resumes.
“During the summer, I volunteered at Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital. I learned a lot about what it’s like to work in the medical field, and it was a better use of my time than just sitting around at home. I recommend volunteering or doing anything that helps you learn important skillsets during the summer. It really helps you to prepare not only for college but also for the future in general,” said Sally Lee, a rising sophomore at Princeton University in New Jersey.
Regardless of how one utilizes their time, the summer is an exciting opportunity to pursue passions and skills that may not be available in school. After a rigorous school year of studying, it is tempting to spend the summer at home or with friends, but saving a portion of time for extracurricular or educational pursuits can prove to be a memorable experience.