If that long stretch of summer ahead has you wondering how your teenager can use all those hours a little more productively, check out these summer possibilities for your college-bound teen!
Whether bagging groceries or French fries and burgers, working in an office or working horses on a farm—summer jobs matter, beyond just a paycheck. When it comes time to list all those things outside of school on the activities section of your college application, jobs of all kinds show work ethic, responsibility, and experience.
Want to dig deeper into an area of interest (that might be a future major)? Many colleges offer pre-college programs on their campuses, with topics ranging from genetics to law to creative writing. Students get to find out if they actually do like the subject, they’re convinced they want to study in college, and bonus—live on a college campus for a period of time and experience dorm life. Remember to look for programs that are presented by the college, and not outside organizations that are simply leasing space.
Though you’ll be able to add those to a resume for college applications, don’t look for it to necessarily provide a leg up on admission to that college. Some of these programs can be costly, so be sure to do your research to find those that give you the most value. Locally, Lipscomb University has partnered with the Tennessee High School Press Association for a New Media Academy held June 5-9 for rising Sophomores, Juniors, and Seniors. Student wants to get away? Look into Clemson University’s Summer Scholars, with a range of topics, for rising 7th through 12th graders.
The school year is often full, between homework, athletics, and other commitments. If you find it hard to work in volunteer hours during the school year, summer is a great time to get involved. Once students have established a long-term relationship with an organization over the summer, it might be a little easier to carve out an hour or two a week for that same organization during the school year, too.
Check out Hands On Nashville, which showcases opportunities at numerous non-profits for one-time or long-term volunteering. It’s as easy as looking at their online calendar to see what fits in your schedules–they make it easy to sign up to volunteer as a family or group as well. Be sure to look at the age requirements for each opportunity.
For students interested in specific areas of study, explore long-term volunteer opportunities like Nashville Zoo, Country Music Hall of Fame, or Adventure Science Center. Thinking about studying biology, zoology, or veterinary science—then check out the Zoo Teens program. The music industry or history are in your future? Then maybe the Country Musical Hall of Fame’s Teen Team is a good fit. If STEM studies or education are for you, then look into being a part of Adventure Science Center’s volunteer team now and apply for Youth Cr3w in the fall.
Creative (and Competitive) Spirit
The internet seems full of teens who have invented some new creation or started their own nonprofit—but those aren’t just stories. Some of our most famous creations (popsicles!) came from the minds of young people. Summer gives students minds time to be creative and innovative. Why not explore the possibilities? Maybe a podcast or blog, creating a platform for that passion, and an opportunity to hone editing and interview skills—then enter the NPR Podcast Challenge for students later in the year. Start a student-created fundraiser for an existing non-profit, or work to fund a need in the community, then take it a step farther by participating in Destination Imagination’s Project Outreach Challenge this fall and compete against other young changemakers from around the world.
Whatever your family decides, remember that using the summer hours more productively can help your college-bound teen in more ways than one.