USNews.com published a June article emphasizing the importance of high schoolers using summer vacation as a time for self-discovery and pursuit of academic and professional interests. According to the article, summer offers a framework for low-stress exploration of activities, colleges, and careers through a couple of different avenues:
Experts support educational camps and college prep programs as beneficial summer pastimes
According to high school counselor Stephanie Diozzi, who was quoted in the article, “‘Many colleges, museums and other organizations offer summer learning opportunities for high school students… Highly ranked schools such as Yale University and Stanford University offer summer programs for high school students, as do civic organizations such as the Rotary Club.’”
Explore career-based summer camps through job shadowing or internships
Job shadowing requires minimal commitment and gives teens a glimpse into real world professional options like nutrition or veterinary medicine. There’s minimal commitment in the case of job shadowing, and an internship gives the chance for a bit more responsibility and a great addition to a college or job application. Furthermore, many summer camp programs of this nature include resources like academic and career counseling to help kids process their experiences.
Use trips to summer camp as a time to explore academic options, too
If your high school students are venturing off to softball or circus camp, college is probably the last thing on their minds. However, the article suggests that parents take trips like these to do a quick drive through of a college or university, just to see what different campuses are like. This gets kids more comfortable with the college search as they enter into their junior or senior year. They can see what size and style of campus feels right and even set up meetings with a current student or admissions counselor if they’re interested. It might be challenging to switch from summer camp mode to academic mode, but even for underclassmen, this head start makes the process easier down the road.