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5 Ways to Make the Most of Your Summers in High School

This post is from a student, parent, or professional contributor. The opinions expressed by the author are their own and do not necessarily reflect the positions, viewpoints, or policies of Niche.

A hand holds a cup of green ice cream in front of an ice cream counter.

Exploring subjects outside the classroom is a great way to demonstrate initiative to colleges and help determine what type of degree and career you could pursue. Keep reading to get some ideas on how to make the most of your summer! 

Get a summer job

Joining the workforce is a fantastic way to learn life skills such as savings and time management, and you can start saving for college.

Many jobs are available to teenagers, including jobs related to your favorite subject and school interests. Some of my favorite jobs I’ve had include ice cream scooper, social media coordinator for small businesses, and babysitter.

Don’t limit yourself to traditional options – see what’s out there and don’t be afraid to try new things! There are so many ways to get involved and grow professionally over the summer.

Attend summer programs

Another great opportunity for academic exploration is to attend summer programs. A simple Google search will reveal dozens of summer programs ranging in price, location, purpose, subject, time commitment, and competitiveness.

Summer programs allow you explore specific interests, meet peers with similar passions, and find mentors. Some summer programs may offer the opportunity to earn college credits and explore a college.

Start researching options in January as most camps that require an application have deadlines from February through April. This year, I am excited to participate in a summer program at the University of Chicago!

Do not feel pressure to attend the most expensive program. A local program can be just as great as an international program. Find a program that fits your interests and go from there!

4 Ways To Have A Productive Summer


Volunteering demonstrates compassion while helping others in need. For those involved in community service clubs, summer hours may transfer to your first semester. Many hospitals, businesses, and shelters may have volunteering programs that require a specific time commitment. I was a part of my local hospital’s 10-week summer volunteering program in which I volunteered 1-2 shifts a week for 4 hours.

Many places will have a less structured volunteering system where you can pick and choose times and dates. Besides already established programs, you can inquire at local places to see if they would like help. If the opportunity doesn’t exist, create one for yourself!

Prepare for the upcoming school year

Having more free time over the summer means it’s the perfect time to get ahead. Some classes may require summer reading, so make sure to check with your school and teachers. Khan Academy and College Board have plenty of resources to get a head start on next year’s courses. Speaking of the College Board, summer presents the perfect opportunity to prepare for standardized tests.

In addition, many community colleges offer courses for high school students to earn credits for college. Your guidance counselor can help guide you through the process of earning summer credits.

Rest and Relax

Summer, most importantly, is a time for rest and relaxation. Although it is great to participate in various activities, remember to take time for yourself.

Spend time with your friends and family and recover from a long school year. When the next school year begins, aim to feel recharged and ready to take on the new year. Go you!

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Author: Lauryn Taylor

My name is Lauryn Taylor and I am a high school junior from North Carolina. After having early exposure to health care fields, I wish to pursue a career in medicine. In my free time, I enjoy writing, volunteering at a local hospital, and mentoring new students at my high school.