Summer Time And The Living Is Easy…

By: Belinda M. Gonzalez-Leon, Ed.D., MBA


Para leer en Español

Summer is a great time for high school students to invest in themselves for future college possibilities while also enjoying some downtime. How to accomplish this? Pick one activity to focus on during the summer and do it well. Mind you, for high school juniors, there is a whole different list of to-do items because the Common Application for colleges opens August 1st. However, here are some ideas for the rest of high schoolers.

Take a class! Students can take on some type of academic endeavor, whether it be dual enrollment, a summer camp offering, or a college summer program. Dual enrollment allows high school students to earn college credits for free. Summer is a great time to pick up a class because there are no other classes going on!

Even if it’s only one class, that could represent 3 college credits! Many colleges also offer summer camp programs as short as one week. Summer camp programs could be about cooking, artificial intelligence, digital marketing, or general college prep! Many times, these camps even offer scholarships.

There are also college summer programs for students to become more familiar with college or to understand a career better. These programs tend to be more costly and could include room and board costs. If you can afford it- it’s a great way for your student to start learning about college life.

If your student can’t stand the idea of sitting in a classroom over summer, then a job is another way to learn! Miami Dade County Public Schools has a PAID summer internship program where students can find work experience within an organization related to the career they aspire to! In the past, I’ve had students’ complete internships at cheerleading camps, engineering firms, doctor’s offices, and even with the city mayor!

Other very ambitious students reach out to organizations directly and negotiate their own internships. There are paid internships, non-paid internships, volunteer hour internships, and even dual enrollment with Miami Dade College internships.

Your student can also opt for the good-old fashioned summer job! Working in a mall clothing store, fast food restaurant, or supermarket provides a student the opportunity practice social skills with customers, manage his time between work responsibilities and personal time, as well as learn the value of money. The extra money helps with personal expenses or even a college fund.

I’ve had several students do so well on the job that they have been promoted to managers or were given glowing recommendation letters. Part time jobs show colleges that you can balance responsibilities in life, exert leadership skills, and have abilities outside of the classroom.

Most high school students need to complete community service hours before graduation. Summer is a convenient time to rack up those hours! Churches and non-profits are always looking for volunteers, but in summer, there is a plethora of summer camps that need volunteers. Students could volunteer as counselors at sports camps, music or art camps, and even overnight camps. Not only does this offer the required hours, but students also have an opportunity to gain the same skill as you would through an internship or a job!

Summer time allows students to take a class or work a job and still have time left over to rest and relax. Part of summer vacation should also be spent visiting colleges of interest! If you are a Junior, summer is the time to get your common application essay, student resume, and recommendation letters ready to go for the opening of the common application on August 1st. Make plans now, and after a few days of rest in June, it is time to get to work!

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