Originally Posted: Jul 7, 2018
Last Updated: Aug 21, 2020
We’ve all been there: the second school lets out, we fall into the trap of staying up until 4:00 am binging American Horror Story on Netflix and waking up at 2:00 pm. It doesn’t take much to fall into a midsummer slump when you’ve got nothing to do. While lounging around recovering from the stress of exams is great, there are many easy things you can do to have a productive summer.
1. Get a job
Ugh. (Yes, I know.) The thought of spending your summer working may sound terrible, but it’s the best way to start saving money. There are plenty of places that hire teens for seasonal work. And guess what? Most of these jobs are extremely simple for good money. This is a great opportunity to start saving money for college or a car. Plus, summer jobs look really good on your résumé and applications.
2. Apply for scholarships
Without having to worry about writing research papers or studying for your next big test, you’ll have plenty of free time to apply for scholarships. There are great scholarship opportunities everywhere, like on this fantastic website called CollegeXpress. You can also head over to Niche, Unigo, and Fastweb. There are plenty of internship opportunities listed on these websites too that will look great on college résumés.
Related: The Ultimate List of Easy Scholarships
3. Find a new hobby
Personally, I’ve never been much of an athlete, but this summer I’ve decided to give recreational volleyball a shot. I probably won’t be the best on the team, but this is a great way to make memories with my friends! If there’s something you’ve wanted to try but have never gotten around to, there’s no better time than the summer. Try a new sport, learn to play an instrument, or start shooting photography.
4. Visit colleges
Make the college search into a vacation! Travel around and check out your local colleges or plan a road trip to explore some out-of-state campuses. Check out your favorite college’s website and register for a tour, or just explore the campus on your own.
Related: College Visits That Can Be Turned Into Vacations
5. Make a difference in your community
Volunteering not only looks great on college applications, it's a great way to help people and build character. Inquire at your church, local food pantry, or nearby animal shelters about volunteer opportunities; there are so many organizations across the country that are always looking for volunteers. You could also get involved in activism in your local community. Rallying for positive change feels good and makes a real difference.
6. Take a class
There are many classes available over the summer, and not all of them are academic. Many school districts offer summer classes for credit. Your local community college might also offer classes for college credit and could even exempt you from some high school courses. There are also cooking classes, photography classes...almost anything that caters to your interests.
Virtual classes, like massive open online courses (MOOCs), are often free (and fun!). edX is a great place to start your search for these online courses.
7. Work on summer assignments
Most schools require some form of summer reading, and many AP and honors classes require summer assignments. With over three months to complete the assignments, it's easy to fall into the trap of “just doing it later.” Make a plan of when and how you’re going to complete the assignments to prevent cramming the night before school starts.
Doing any (or all) of these things can result in having a summer that doesn’t result in lying in bed for three months. Come back to school with something to brag about, like your cool internship or your experiences volunteering at a food pantry. Maybe even come back to school ready to try out for a sports team!
Need more ideas? Explore all of our blogs and articles on having the best summer ever!