Nowadays the summer holidays are not only nine weeks full of relaxation. With all the entrepreneurs showing all their success on Instagram and Facebook, it is also a time for self-growth.There nine weeks include time working (for money), experiencing new interests and fields, improving skills in any area which is already known. For these reasons, summer holidays are the perfect time to get the experience necessary in their future lives.
Summertime is a time on which we encourage students to focus on things they enjoy, on skills they can improve and on new areas they can explore. It will lead to a proper mindset and also to well thought decisions about their future goals.
To reach self-growth, students must participate in various activities.
While considering activities to attend, make sure that you consider these:
The decision about what kind of activity is best for your student should be made regarding its own initiative. To attend a given program needs less effort than developing a project from scratch. Ask yourself how your child is? Is it more comfortable with given advice and with established programs or does it like to work more according to a self-made timeline? Take the answers to these questions also into consideration when it is coming to the application for specific activities, jobs or volunteering programs.
As well as the initiative, you should also take into account how challenging your child is. Does it do that often or does it take activity in which it is likely to succeed? It doesn’t matter as long as your student can grow. It also doesn’t matter if it is a challenging activity, and your student fails: failing is also part of our lives.
What impact will this activity have on your student, its self and the community? Will it engage your student? Will it motivate to proceed? Will it be enjoyable? Make sure you don’t fill the nine weeks of summer with activities just to have a good-looking application for college – even though your student doesn’t like attending them.
One possibility for summer is attending summer programs. These programs have different focuses: STEM, culture, arts, nature and wilderness, historical and many many more. The duration of these programs can vary between one week to ten weeks.
Programs are often offered by colleges and are held on their grounds. So students can already explore living and studying on that specific campus. Of course, these programs are not free. There are some that cost about $10,000, but there are some that have lower costs as well.
Summer programs offer students the chance to explore new areas, interests and exciting fields they might want to take as a major to graduate then. Some colleges credit points for participation in these programs.
Besides the knowledge and interest thing, there are also new friendships coming up with people around the world who attend the same courses.
We recommend programs that are planned and run by the colleges themselves instead of being held by a third party. It ensures that college teachers and professors teach the lessons within the program. It also ensures that your student doesn’t only get the possibility to grow. It also gets an insight into the way of teaching at this specific college.
How to find a proper summer program
While searching for a proper program have a look beneath the title of these.
Ask yourself the following questions and try to find answers in the description of the program or the website of the college:
- What is the main philosophy?
- Why is this program unique?
- What impact does it have on my student?
- Does the program match the interests of my student, or will it be able to create new ones?
- Will my student be challenged or bored?
- How does it affect my student’s growth?
- Who is teaching my student? What level of experience does the staff have?
- How is success rewarded?
You can also ask other parents whose children had already been to that specific project. They will be able to tell you about the growth of their children, the usage of the experience and possible or necessary changes. After these talks, you can reconsider that program for yourself and your student.
Besides the possibility to go for summer programs, a lot of students prefer to work during that time. Working and earning money themselves make them feel independent. To work during the summer holidays is also a proper way to ensure new and good experience in specific fields.
Summer jobs can be typical jobs like waiter, cashier, babysitter or even lifeguard.
But some companies also offer summer jobs in different fields. An example can be working at a grocery store to restock. It can be a basic job, but there is also the possibility that your student can dive deeper into the system. Let’s imagine there is interest in the business and the work behind stocking and selling. It can lead to summer internships as well.
Internships differ a lot to typical summer jobs. While doing an internship, your student won’t only do the basic jobs; it will also gain deeper knowledge in the whole procedure. To add to the example mentioned above: Your student will learn how to do marketing, advertising, gain new customers, accounting, public relations, product selection, transportation, storage (every part of it – not only the grocery store shelves).
This was just one example of a proper summer internship. These internships are also offered in other fields, for example, law, marketing itself, community, schools, and so on.
With doing an internship, your student will gain a lot of different working experience which can be helpful in choosing the major to graduate in.
After an entire year of classes in school, it might not create a positive reaction with your student to recommend summer classes. You can maybe convince your student by explaining the useful features of summer classes: not losing track, preparation for college and finding new friends.
Summer classes can also be a possibility for students whose grades haven’t been well enough to improve themselves and catching up with all the topics they were struggling with.
Summer classes can also be the first insight in teaching and learning on a college level.
The classes are offered by high schools, colleges or even at universities – some of them are also available online.
Researches / projects
If your student is more comfortable with self-set timelines and workload, it is recommended to work on an independent project or research. Your student must be doing something – independent projects won’t work for couch potatoes though!
These projects can include nearly everything:
- Programming an app
- Developing a business
- Writing a play
- Designing clothes, robots or houses
- Improve existing interests
All these mentioned projects will start from scratch. Your student has to do researches, learning, improving, failing. All this is going to have a big impact on how your student feels about certain areas to work in later.
Whether it is at the local animal shelter, at a school, museum or any other non profit organisation. There are a lot of possibilities to volunteer: social, economical, educational, and many more. It just depends on what your student wants to learn and what area to grow in.
Volunteering is a way to not only get an insight into various jobs and fields, it is also a way to give something back to the community. With volunteering you can gain a lot of social experience and also leadership skills. Volunteering is also a way to understand society and the world around us a little better.
There are a lot of volunteering programs which include travelling as well. This is going to help your student to see more than just its room and the city you’re living in.
As well as volunteering, travelling can help experience what is around us. Most of the times it includes other cultures and economics. As with volunteering abroad, there are also a few organisations that help you with travelling and working abroad as well.
Besides these programs, students can also just travel to go on adventures within different countries and maybe even within a ‘new world’.
These travels should last at least six weeks to make the most out of it. They better last the whole summer.
But don’t forget: Travelling costs money, not only the plane ticket – but your student also needs food 😉
How long will your student still have summer holidays? This is one question you should keep in mind while making a plan. If there is more than one summer ahead before your student is going to college, a bigger plan can make sense.
Don’t restrict yourself and your students by thinking that there can be just one thing done. As long as it is not two full-time jobs, your student can do more things. If all of the activities can’t be done in one summer, try to plan ahead until the next summer holidays as well.
For different age groups, there are various things and activities to do and to attend. Of course, a 12 y/o should not travel abroad to work there for weeks.
Freshman and sophomore
Travelling, summer programs, specialised camps and volunteering can be good options.
Juniors and seniors
Self-designed workloads and timesheets are more suitable for this age group. We recommend job, internship and/or academic researches as well as small projects.
Don’t forget: It is your student’s summer, not yours! But also make sure it is not wasting its time!
interests and personal goals
Write down your own top five of academic and personal interests and goals you want to reach
What rewards would you like to bring home? (e.g. course credits, certificates, kowledge, project results, research results, etc.)
Possible summer activities
Write down your own top five of summer activities as well as the mentioned rewards and the requirements.