Whether you’re in high school or working hard to get through college, summer is a great time to brush up on your skills, spend time on your non-academic interests, and do activities that will make your resume impressive to future colleges or employers. It can be tempting to waste those three months chilling by the pool, but if you can also work in some of these absolute best things to do over the summer you’ll be better off for it.
Get a J.O.B
Not only will you impress your parents and earn some extra spending money, but having a job over the summer can prepare you for a variety of real-world experiences. If you can, try to pick something related to one of your career interests or major. Thinking about becoming a fashion designer? Work part time at a retail store. You’ll learn how to work on a team, how to arrange a sales floor, count change at the register, fold a perfect pair of jeans, assemble wardrooms for clients, and get to practice your customer service skills. Taking advantage of the awesome employee discounts doesn’t hurt either. Or maybe you’re interested in non-profit work? Apply for a job working on a grass roots campaign, an environmental organization, or a charity. These types of groups always need people to work the phones, canvas the streets, and help with clerical jobs in the office. You’ll learn how to stand out in a large group, perfect your persuasive skills, communicate effectively, and simultaneously make good money and work out while going door to door. Your youth is an asset to many companies looking to hire energetic, excited young people to fill in any summer holes in their personnel. There are so many jobs out there for high school students. Slap your summer employment on your resume and even if you don’t need it yet, don’t forget to ask for a recommendation letter!
Volunteering is one of the best ways to gain valuable work and leadership experience. You may not make a ton of money, but you will meet new people, learn new skills, and feel great about yourself after your service project is completed. Soup kitchens, animal shelters, grocery stores, libraries, and even law firms take on volunteer workers during the summer months to help out. Want to become a teacher one day? Read to children or tutor adult learners a few times a week at your local library. Interested in architecture? Build houses with Habitat for Humanity. Want to go into politics? Join a politically-minded environmentalist group that cleans beaches on weekends. Or maybe you’re on the pre-med track? Be a companion or activities leader at a nursing home. The people you help will appreciate your service and volunteer work looks incredible on resumes.
Not everyone can travel, but if you can, do it! Summer travel and summer enrichment programs are great ways to enrich your mind, discover new places and cultures, and enhance your resume with incredible experiences. Summer enrichment programs (although not all require extensive travel) are usually tailored around specific disciplines like theater, computer science, music, dance, or engineering, Whether you leave the country or just leave home for a few weeks, you’ll learn how to expand your perspectives and awareness. Colleges and employers also love well-traveled applicants, who are curious and eager to take on challenges. If you speak or are learning a foreign language, traveling is also a great way to practice your skills. There are so many high school summer programs aboard, teen trips, and pre-college travel programs. Here’s one or two to get your started. In addition to traveling for enrichment or academic purposes, if you’re a junior or senior in high school, make sure you visit some colleges that you’ve either applied to or want to apply to.
Stay in School
Summer school doesn’t have to be a drag and can actually be quite fun. The trick is to take fun courses in subjects you’re interested in (and maybe a few you have to take). Colleges and employers love to see additional courses on your transcript and resume. It means you take initiative, that you’re hard working, and that you love to learn. Taking classes over the summer is also a great way to meet new people, discover new interests, and keep your mind sharp. If your high school offers summer school, enroll, but you could also take courses at a local university, community college or junior college. Most community colleges will also give full or partial college credit which you can apply to your future college. You can get a head of the game by taking an introductory course and using those credits toward a course you would have had to of taken otherwise in college. Sweet!