I truly believe that summers are supposed to be enjoyable. Summers are a special time because you can let loose and relax in order to re-energize yourself for the next year, so you should make the most of this. For the better part of each summer, I do not think it is necessary to focus on taking extra classes to get ahead or studying for the ACT or SAT.
With that said, you should not sleep the entire summer or spend every day on a couch watching television. There are ways to have fun and relax but also spend your time contributing to your community in some way. For example, if you have a passion you never make time for during the school year, pursue it during the summer months. Have you always wanted to play a particular sport or instrument? Do you want to explore your scientific creativities through research? Take American Sign Language? Learn how to cook?
The key is to spend your time doing what interests you most because if you are true to yourself, your summers can end up radiating in your college applications and provide another example of how you spend your time when you do not have school work. Regardless of how many days of the week you have something scheduled, go out of the house and do something each day. Colleges are looking for prospective students who they know will contribute to their communities, and you can show them this is you by volunteering your time at a local program or job. Additionally, keeping busy during the summer months will help your mind stay sharp, but don’t forget to read regularly—it can be anything you will enjoy.
Many students spend their summers working to make some extra spending money. However, don’t get too caught up in what your job title is—working in your town’s local ice cream shop can be as beneficial as any job (as long as you don’t eat too much ice cream!). Even your work in an ice cream parlor will require you to show responsibility, dedication, and commitment if you work there the entire summer. These qualities can not only shine on your college applications but serve you well for any future job. It is great to show colleges that you can work well with multiple kinds of people and take directions from a boss. There are plenty of jobs for teenagers especially during the summer. Whether you feel like waitressing at a restaurant, taking care of kids at a day camp, or even filing records at a clerical desk job, many local businesses seek to hire responsible teenagers. If you need to help your family with younger siblings, that is admirable and understandable. Colleges will want to know that too.
Consider your interests before choosing a summer activity, if you have that luxury. For example, if you have always wanted to speak Italian but your high school does not offer it as a foreign language, take the summer to learn it. You will definitely demonstrate your intellectual and academic curiosity by taking classes due to genuine interest in the subject. Even if you do not receive credit, consider doing this if you have the motivation.
Fantastic ways to spend a summer in high school include volunteer work, paid work, research, local community service, and internships. If you are creative in tying your interests to pursuing potential career goals, that will demonstrate thoughtfulness in planning summer activities. For example, I have worked with athletes who love playing their sport but also teaching it. One student volunteered giving lessons in the sport to younger children while another student was paid to run soccer birthday parties, combining her interests in soccer and working with children.
My biggest recommendation is to make summers as much fun as possible, regardless of what you choose to do with your time. Enjoy the nice weather and take some time for yourself.