These cold winter days have everyone looking forward to the warm summer months. Summers should include vacations and relaxation but before you head to the beach I strongly encourage you to carve out some time for a structured summer experience. High school students should look for opportunities that will position them to make more informed decisions about their career path and should use the summer time to obtain the academic skills needed to reach their desired goals. The reality is that students have a brief period of time to gain the academic knowledge and civics skills to be knowledgeable to compete for future jobs and reach career goals. Making decisions about future goals could occur via employment, summer studies, volunteering or attending a college-sponsored program. Start by talking with your teen to determine what interests he/she would like to explore. Realistically consider your teen’s current academic abilities. Summer is an ideal time to improve reading and math skills for some students while other students may need to focus on targeted college admissions test preparation to improve their ACT or SAT scores. Also, consider the opportunity to improve an artistic or athletic talent.
A few things to consider when looking for a summer opportunity:
- What career(s) pathway is your teen interested in pursuing?
- Are there volunteer opportunities with a parent’s employer? Take the initiative to ask even if there aren’t any publicized.
- What Georgia colleges are near your home and what summer programs do they offer?
- Check the out-of-state colleges you have an interest in attending and see what summer programs they have to offer. This is an awesome way to test the waters and show demonstrated interest.
- Does your teen’s summer job expose him/her to a career pathway of interest? If not, can you help them identify some options that might?
- A meaningful volunteer experience doesn’t have to take 40 hours a week. The key is doing something over an extended period of time that shows commitment so it can be as little as 2-4 hours a week. Another advantage longevity gives you is interaction with an adult professional who can serve as a reference and mentor.
- Use your inner circle. Stop by your school counseling office ask your church youth program or anyone else you interact with often.
- Use the summer to improve skill levels in math and reading comprehension. It is difficult to obtain the desired ACT/SAT score if students lack basic skills. Waiting until the Junior and Senior year often proves too late if basic skills are lacking.
- Get started today! Many programs will require an application and as always the early bird gets the worm.
The college planning and admissions world changes frequently. We would like to assist you by providing tips for adolescents preparing for life after high school and navigating the world of college admissions.