6 Ways Your Teen Can Take It Up A Notch This Summer

With summer here, your student will soon be relaxing and enjoying less scheduled days, which will be great….for a while! Eventually, video games and Netflix binging will get old. If your teen hasn't made summer plans yet, now’s the time get busy! Here are 6 summer activity ideas with ways your teen can make the most of them.

Summer College Program

Summer programs are great because they allow students to experience life on a college campus, explore new and exciting fields they may want to pursue as college majors, and make friendships with others from around the globe. Many programs still have availability so you may be able to find programs your student is interested in. Teenlife.com is a good place to start your research.

Take It Up A Notch: These programs can be helpful when they truly reflect your student’s interests, whether academic or otherwise. For example, if your teen wants to be a doctor, a science-based summer program can help her learn more about what it’s like to study and practice medicine. These programs can help show colleges that she takes this career path seriously and that she is genuinely interested in learning more about it. For students entering 12th grade, we encourage you to think about how they can create their own summer program.

Summer Job

Having a job is one of the best ways to enhance your student’s resume and college applications! Whether your teen is a lifeguard, cashier, golf caddy, stocker, babysitter, camp counselor, or even starts her own pet sitting company, she will learn valuable life skills such as responsibility and communication.

Take It Up A Notch: Like any other activity, a summer job can impress colleges when your student works at the same place over a longer timeframe and increases his or her responsibilities. A summer job that relates to a subject your teen wants to study in college or pursue a career in often communicates to a college what her interests are and her level of commitment to them.

Summer Internship

Summer internships allow students to gain valuable work experience, as well as learn more about careers they may be interested in. While it can be somewhat challenging for high school students to land internships, many students have been able to turn a volunteer opportunity or part-time job into an internship by asking if there is an opportunity to dive deeper into an area of the business or organization they’re interested in. While many high school internships are unpaid, they give your teen valuable career experience to include on a resume.

Take It Up A Notch: When students work in summer internships that relate to a future career area or subject they plan on studying in college, colleges often interpret that as real interest in a field. In the admissions process, schools are looking for students who are passionate about something and who are willing to go the extra mile to understand a field of interest.

Summer Class

Your student can take summer classes in a variety of ways, either through their high school, at a community college, through an academic program at universities, or even online through sites such as Coursera.

Take It Up A Notch: College classes on your student’s transcript show that he can handle the rigor and workload of college. This is an especially good option if your student’s high school doesn’t offer many advanced classes or if he wants to strengthen his transcript. Also, consider choosing courses in your student’s specific interest area such as a real estate or web design.


While volunteering is all about helping others, your teen can choose volunteer work that relates to her college or career interests. 

Take It Up A Notch: Just completing a few hours of volunteer work will not have as much impact as making a longer-term commitment to one organization. Working with an organization in a field of interest over a long period of time gives your student the opportunity to make a significant impact on the organization. Hopefully, over time this commitment will lead to greater responsibility and possible leadership positions.

Independent Project Or Research

Summer is ideal for delving into academic interests. From developing an app to writing a play or designing a robot, digging deeper into an established interest is a great way for your teen to spend part of a summer break.

Take It Up A Notch: Your student may be able to work with a teacher or advisor to create an independent project that can count as a course credit. Another option is to reach out to a college professor to assist with college-level research. Creative projects can be submitted for contests or publication, if appropriate. If your student creates an app or an online video, being able to show a high usage number or a huge number of followers can be impressive (as are high revenues)!

You may also be interested in these resources:

Colleges Love Activities (And You Should, Too)

What To Consider As You Apply To Selective Colleges

How Students Decide Which College to Attend