Ideas for Summer Break

There are so many ways for high school students to engage in summer activities that can have a huge impact on them personally, and on a college or university admission officer. With the ongoing impact of the Covid-19 global pandemic, many traditional summer programs have moved to an online format and, for some students, that just doesn’t hold the same appeal. Typically, students have looked forward to a residential on-campus program that helps them make new friends, engage with university faculty, and learn more about what their life might look like when they attend college. However, there are still other exciting summer opportunities to consider that can also be meaningful, so let’s review a few of those here.

Apply for an internship.

This can be a really fascinating way for you to explore fields of interest that may, or may not, relate to your possible choice of major. A summer internship is rarely a paid position, but it can open doors to future work within a business, non-profit, scientific laboratory or research facility, or even a government setting. These internships are often highly selective and competitive, so researching and applying early is important.

Here are a few examples from the Chegg Internships website:
• The Institutes for Systems Biology, Seattle WA
• Matthews Design Group, Saint Augustine FL
• Memorial Health System, Marietta OH
• Northrop Grumman, Redondo Beach CA
• New York State Assembly, New York, NY

Embrace your entrepreneurial spirit

This could be the summer that you actually start your own business. Some examples may include selling your homemade cakes and cookies to raise money for a favorite charity or towards your own college costs; creating a babysitter’s club with your besties and sharing the proceeds; walking dogs; conducting computer classes for the very young and the very old; setting up a small local moving company or junk hauler business; becoming a personal companion to an elderly person. A frequent summer job for teenagers is landscaping and lawn care. Another, depending upon where you live, is to work as a local tour guide or foreign language interpreter for a local tourist area. Other young people may work as house painters or window washers, serve as tutors to younger students in a variety of academic subjects, or coach youngsters in their sport.

Get a job

This is a tried and true way of impressing your colleges and your bank account. So many businesses rely on students’ availability over the summer! Look for positions that really matter to you. If bookkeeping is your interest, talk to your parents’ accountant; call a few small local businesses to see if they’d like help over the summer; apply for work at your local parks and recreation office. Local supermarkets use summer staffing while their permanent staff take vacations; lifeguarding is a fun opportunity; customer service can be either waiting tables at the local beachfront lobster shack or in a fine city hotel or working the rental desk at the local gym, beach, pool, or golf club.

Community service

The summer holidays can be the perfect time for you to engage in something that you really care about on a personal level. Think about approaching organizations where you might be able to continue volunteering on an on-going basis – colleges love to see consistency and commitment. Look at ways in which you can serve both during the summer and during the school year. Visit with the elderly, volunteer at your local wildlife park/zoo/animal shelter, work at a refugee resettlement or community center helping new arrivals understand documents and paperwork or look into volunteering at your local hospital. Stay local and you’ll still impress.

Hit the books

Of course, another way to make the most of your summer vacation is to work on both your academics and your applications, if you are a rising senior. It could be both interesting and fruitful for you to take a community college class over the summer, take a free online class through edX or Coursera, or complete a standardized test prep program. Read college essay prompts from last year’s application season and start a notebook to list some thoughts you may want to draw upon when you sit down to write your own application essays. An academic summer may also include college visits, informational sessions with admission counselors and taking as many college tours as is reasonable.

Looking for help with the college search and application process? We help students and families through the entire college planning journey – from search, applications and essays to interview prep, financial aid consultation and final school selection.

Contact us at or by phone, 845.551.6946. We work with students through Zoom, over the phone and by email.