Planning Summer Opportunities for High School Students

We encourage students to consider what they enjoy, what areas they could improve in, and what their goals for the future are in order to decide what to do over the summer. With any activity a student chooses to participate in, there should be opportunities to help them learn more about themselves by expanding their interests, gaining new experiences, or taking on responsibilities.

As you review possibilities for the summer, consider these key questions:

    How much initiative does this activity or program require? For example, it takes more initiative to develop an independent project than it does to attend a summer program.

    Am I taking a risk or challenging myself in this activity or program? Show that you are willing to stretch and go outside your comfort zone. It’s okay if you complete an activity that you failed at. As a matter of fact, that might make a great college essay!

    What is the impact of this activity or program? Think about how this program is going to impact you and our your community.

Depending on what grade you are in, you might consider making a loose, multi-year plan for your summers. For example, summer programs and travel are great options for lowerclassmen who are just beginning to explore interests. As students move to junior year, they may want to consider something that is more self-driven. Take some time to map out possible activities over time, and see if you identify a common thread or interest.

It’s absolutely possible for students to do more than one activity during the summer. If there are multiple activities a student would like to participate in, we encourage them to include them in their summer plan to see how a summer might flow. A word of caution: make a plan that ensures the student doesn’t become too busy; students should never return to classes in the fall feeling burnt out and exhausted.

One other important point:

We don’t encourage any student to spend their summer doing something that they don’t enjoy, so don’t fill summer with activities just because you think they will look good on an application.