All, College Planning, Summer

Time for Summer Planning

You might be thinking of the first snowstorm, pumpkin pie, or settling in for a long winter nap; but have you considered what to do over summer vacation?  While summer might be months away, applications for many summer programs are open in the fall and winter. 

Summer months offer a solid block of time that doesn’t have the distractions of the school routine.  It’s time you can use for exploring areas of interest that might otherwise get pushed to the side.  If you haven’t yet made plans for the summer, it’s time to start thinking about how you’d like to use that time.  Here are a few ideas to get you started.


Summer can be a time to work on an area that gave you trouble in the past or to branch out into new areas.  Summer school sessions might be a time to knock out a course that is required for graduation, in order to open up your school year calendar. 

Many colleges offer summer academic sessions open to high school students.  Some offer college credit, while others are oriented towards giving a preview of college life.  Be aware that even though a program is offered on a particular college campus, it might not make an acceptance there more likely.

Work & Internships

Summer jobs have long been a rite of passage.  Not only do they bolster the bank account, but they give students real life skills like punctuality, following directions, and communication.  A job is likely to get you outside your regular social circle and give you experience dealing with customers and supervisors.

 You might also consider an internship.  These are typically a position at a company or organization to work on a project, but may be unpaid.  The expectation is that in return for entry level work, the intern gains access to a field that they wouldn’t yet get a job in and thereby gains experience and insight.  Some companies and organizations have a formal internship program.  Others might be responsive to requests to create an internship position.  Don’t overlook volunteer positions.  A long-term volunteer position for the summer could operate much like an internship.

Travel and Experiential Learning

Summer may also be a time for travel.  Many high schools offer short travel programs through foreign language clubs.  A number of student foreign exchange programs run summer programs that combine culture, language learning, and living with a local host family. 

Summer camps have long been popular and not only because of the enduring appeal of s’mores.  Camps range from outdoor adventures to music and language immersions to intensive sports training.  Short academic camps in art, robotics, coding, or test prep might be available through your parks department, libraries, or museums.  Some students go back to the same camps year after year and progress from camper to counselor, gaining valuable leadership experience in the process.