5 Ways High School Students Make Summer Count

Summer is here and students are taking a well-deserve break after hard classes, peer pressure, and finals.  But college bound students need to mix their hang time with some meaningful activities to present their best selves on their upcoming college applications. 

Colleges are expecting that students do something meaningful with their summers, which could translate into a lot of different possibilities, depending on the student. Here are a few examples.


Work teaches valuable lessons. Students learn responsibility, teamwork and new skills. Colleges consider just about any paid work a valuable experience — restaurant work, yard work, babysitting, or whatever a student can get. The type of work is not important. The fact that the student found a job, kept regular hours, and accepted responsibility is. 


Internships are a good way for high school students to learn about specific careers and industries. Colleges believe internships are valuable for lots of reasons: many internships require students to go through an application process to teach job search and employment skills; internships introduce students to potential majors and careers, research skills, and lab skills; and internships give students a view into the real world of work and careers. Motivated students looking for an internship much start early — many applications close between January and early Spring.

To obtain internships, students can google internships in their area, and ask friends and family if any of their contacts would consider a high school student intern for the summer.

Personal Project

A pet project in a student’s interest area can teach business, social, or entrepreneurial skills. Some students start a business, raise money for a non-profit organization or start their own, work on a political campaign, or any variety of possibilities.


Teens can look to churches and summer camps to help out with programs for younger students. Those who enjoy working with kids or animals may enjoy non-profit work over the summer.


Summer is a great time to make up a class or get ahead by taking a community college course in a favorite subject. Community college classes allow a student to advance to a different class when they get back to school in the fall, or simply to explore an interest not available at high school. Before taking a community college class, students must make sure their high school offers credit earned from community college.