STEPPING AHEAD THIS SUMMER

It’s summer time, school is out, pools are open, and if you listen very closely you can hear students all over the place saying, “I’m bored, there’s nothing to do!" Well here are some solutions to your high school student’s boredom that will have a very positive impact on their college planning. Many students have very hectic schedules during the school year that often don't allow them to take advantage of some of the ideas below. Don't let this summer go by without having your student check a couple of these activities off the list.

1.     Schedule at least two or three career interviews.

These can be done over coffee or lunch and are intended to allow your son or daughter to talk with someone in a job or profession that they believe they might want to pursue. I suggest you help them develop a list of questions to ask. This will allow your student to get real world feedback, both good and bad. Conversations like this will help develop options for majors and careers that are most likely to coincide with your student’s interests and aptitudes. Most adults are more than willing to take 30 minutes or so to help out a teenager considering their future. Friends, neighbors, church members and friends’ parents are all good options to find someone in a particular profession.

2.     Taking a personality/career assessment test is a great use of time during the summer.

This data can then be used in conjunction with the selection of majors to put a college/career plan together that will most likely lead to long term success. These tests generally cost around a few hundred dollars and can be completed in less than an hour or so.

3.     Job shadowing is a great summertime activity.

While the career interview gets them some good feedback, the job shadowing immerses them in the job for a day. I can't think of a better way to see if a career is the right fit than to live in it for a day or two or maybe even a week. Finding willing volunteers is as simple as asking around.

4.     Consider hiring a tutor over the summer.

Why lose the three months of the summer when this time could be used to drive up GPA which may ultimately lead to more merit-based aid or simply acceptance at more colleges. This can be done a couple of times per week and won't intrude terribly on the student’s summer but could indeed have a huge impact on academic success.

5.     Volunteer for some local non-profit organizations.

Community service time is often a requirement for graduation and if not it certainly looks good on college applications. Summer is a great time to get involved. No magic here other than to jump on something right away. If it gets pushed to the back burner, unfortunately the summer may be over before anything gets done.

These are just a handful of ways to take advantage of this summer's downtime. I suggest talking about these things with your son or daughter and collectively determine which ones make sense to pursue.

Enjoy your summer!