How high school students can plan ahead to maximize their summer

By: Vivian Wang

As the first semester of the 2020-2021 school year comes to an end, many high school students around the world have started to plan for their summer. For rising high school seniors, their summer entails back-to-back days of planning for college applications. For younger students, their summer may revolve around preparing for standardized tests or participating in meaningful summer enrichment programs. With the pandemic still raging on, many students may feel isolated in regards to planning their summer, especially since internships and several programs have been canceled. Instead of feeling overwhelmed, it is recommended that high school students tap into various resources and opportunities. These resources and tips can help with navigating the summer, whether it be for preparing for college or searching for summer programs.

For many high school underclassmen, the thought of the SAT brings about a mixture of sighs as students think about the number of hours that they will have to sit and complete an exam. One of the best ways that high schoolers can maximize their time during the summer is by allocating an hour each day for SAT preparations, whether it be by reviewing SAT vocabulary or completing some practice SAT math questions. Additionally, with many test centers closed due to COVID-19, students may also consider not taking the SAT. Many colleges have announced that they are a test-optional or test-blind college, meaning that submitting standardized test scores are not a requirement for college admissions. 

Beyond preparing for standardized tests, it may also be a good idea to secure a remote internship in a particular area of interests. At ages 16, 17, or 18, high school students aren’t expected to know what field they hope to pursue after high school; however, internships are a great way to explore various areas that may seem intriguing. In searching for internships for this summer, many offices, labs, and programs have canceled their internship programs. Remaining proactive and resilient in the search for an internship is the best way to secure an internship. For instance, if a high school student is interested in exploring computer science — such as artificial intelligence — they can reach out to local university professors and ask if they can become a research assistant in their lab. When emailing nearby college professors, understand that not all professors are available. With this in mind, it is recommended that high school students email multiple professors, rather than just one or two professors.

In addition to internships, many high school students enjoy maximizing their summer by pursuing a personal passion project. Passion projects can range from launching a blog to founding a nonprofit organization. Perfect for independent self-starters, passion projects can allow a student to stretch their own creative boundaries, all while allowing students to make a difference in their community. For example, if a student is interested in promoting financial literacy around the world, they might be interested in launching a blog that teaches students about finance. Moreover, one of the best parts about passion projects is that they do not have to revolve around academics. If an individual finds interest in cooking, they might consider launching a YouTube channel dedicated to teaching various cooking styles and recipes. High school students interested in language learning may want to set up a language learning community in which students can teach one another languages. 

With these tips and tricks in mind, high school students can tackle their summer so that their summer is balanced and fruitful. Students who begin planning their summer as early as the start of second semester will find that they will be able to find various learning opportunities. Most importantly, summer is all about a balanced life — working hard and playing hard will lead to a meaningful, balanced summer.

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