How to Prepare for College

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9 Ways To Spend Your Summer Preparing For Your Major Or Career

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Do high school students need to know exactly what career they will have as adults? No, they don’t. But one thing that high school students can do during the summer to prepare for their future is structure their time off with some intentional activity. Crafting a thoughtful summer schedule can help students to more deeply explore their areas of interest. Excited about education? Work with children at a summer camp. Want to explore an interest in art? Visit galleries over the summer, and work on your own pieces. Inspired by studying science? Seek out some scientific opportunities with local doctors, universities, or professors. Want to put your interests into action? Design a project around service work that is focused on your passion—be it business, history, math, social justice, or language. The possibilities are endless. The team at College Ready knows a lot about different avenues to pursue to help students prepare for a major or career. Read on to learn 9 ways to spend your high school summers preparing for your college major or career.

1.) Attend a college program. Schools throughout the nation offer opportunities for high schoolers to get a taste of life college academic experiences. Schoolyard Ventures provides innovative entrepreneurship educational programs for teens. The programs at Schoolyard Ventures cover learning in both the classroom and the real world, with a focus on having an entrepreneurial mindset. One particular program during the summer of 2023 is a Social Innovators Program at the University of Pennsylvania. This 8-week program guides high schoolers through the process of launching social enterprises and non-profits as they earn a Certificate in Social Entrepreneurship from UPenn. This virtual program could be a great fit for young entrepreneurs and high schoolers who want to make a difference in society. Enrollment in a program like this is not open to the general public; students must be referred by Higher Education Consultants Association members like College Ready to apply. Find more details about this program here. For more information on college-affiliated summer programs, you can reach out to College Ready.

2.) Research, read, and write. If you’re the type of student who really enjoys independent (or collaborative) work, start a research project over the summer. If you don’t know where to start, there are great resources available for this kind of academic adventure. Scholar Launch is a program that helps students to work directly with professors and professionals from hundreds of the world’s leading universities, companies, and other centers of scholarship. You can check out summer programs offered by Scholar Launch here. Another way to develop interest and knowledge in your subjects is to simply read. Head to a local library to dig into your topics of choice; spend time reading, learning, and reflecting on your deep dive into your subjects of interest.

3.) Start a passion project. One of the things we at College Ready are most passionate about: passion projects. These are service-based projects that students design according to their own individual interests and talents. They also take time to plan out the process of their service work from start to finish. Passion projects help students to develop communication skills and advocacy talents. In addition to all of these benefits, through their own projects, students are making a positive impact on the world—locally, nationally, or internationally. College Ready has launched an exciting new project that students are welcome to join: building a school in Uganda. Students and parents can participate virtually or in-person. Reach out to College Ready to learn more.

4.) Get busy with internships or jobs. Working an internship or job doesn’t have to be just for money; students can look for work or experience in a field that they’re truly interested in. Practical experience is invaluable when it comes to fields related to your major or career interests. This kind of work gives you the chance to be hands-on and to network with important contacts. Imagine Scholarships is one organization that College Ready has partnered with to discover the best opportunities available for students.

5.) Build your portfolio. You don’t have to be an artist, writer, or performer to have an impressive portfolio. Students with academic interests of all kinds can spend the summer curating a collection that showcases work, accomplishments, and skills of all kinds. These portfolios can be useful for things like college applications, job interviews, and scholarships.

6.) Take classes. Whether they take online courses at national institutions or classes at local community colleges, students can always be working on their education. Many top universities offer pre-college courses in things like engineering, physiology, STEM, medicine, music, art, business, law, and more. Students can shape their future by finding the right kind of classes for them.

7.) Go to career fairs. The world needs workers. What better time to get some job exposure and networking time under your belt than summer? Many cities, communities, and even specific industries hold job fairs throughout the summer. Career fairs can provide an opportunity to meet with professionals in your field of interest, learn about job prospects, and make connections with potential employers.

8.) Learn to communicate. In the age of terse texting and instant internet, the art of communication has changed significantly. However, the ability to communicate effectively and efficiently remains an invaluable skill in both the academic and working worlds. During the summer, high school students can practice and perfect communication skills by finding opportunities to participate in public speaking events, take writing courses, or lead peers in a club or passion project. Strong communication skills are essential in any field of study, and good communication will serve students well throughout their career.

9.) Take care of yourself. During the summer, don’t forget about #1: you. Get enough sleep throughout the summer (and school year too!). Adolescent brains are still growing and developing, and sleep is essential to health. Exercise regularly in the summer—whether that means morning walks, afternoon swims, or pickup games of your sport of choice in the evening. Students can even be super intentional with their health and take exercise courses or join a team over the summer. Give a bit of time to your personal hobbies; you never know how your interests, creativity, or travels can combine to inspire you to start a cool passion project. A healthy mind and body can help you to stay focused and energized as you prepare for your future.

Does your high school senior need help getting all of the summer activities and college application materials organized? Reach out to Shellee at College Ready, and book a free discovery call to learn more.

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