Making the Most of Your Summer

As we enter a new year, and having just kicked off the month of January, you might be thinking it is too early to begin thinking and planning your summer. However, now is the time that many colleges and organizations start publicizing and sharing opportunities for high school students – such as summer internships, weeklong intensive programs and immersion courses. These opportunities help students become more familiar with a subject, figure out their own strengths and interests, earn college credit, and even experience college firsthand by taking college courses and living on a college campus.

It is recommended that rising sophomores, juniors and seniors start considering summer programs during the winter before they want to attend, so now is the time to start researching programs that might be of interest! Taking part in special summer learning programs and opportunities for high school students are important ways that students can get ready for the college application process and get immersed in subjects and topics that they find interesting. It is also a great way to figure out what students are not interested in and provide insight into their future majors or minors. In addition, these types of programs and learning opportunities can also provide opportunities for future research and college application essay topics.

Summer learning programs are available across the country and in various topics and subjects. It is just a matter of researching and finding programs and opportunities close to you and of interest to you. Here are some examples of types of summer programs for high school students:

  • A five-day creative writing program on a college campus
  • A weeklong program in 3D game design at a computer camp
  • A three-week language emersion class at a school in another country
  • A six-week program on a college campus with college-level courses in subjects such as engineering, psychology and environmental studies
  • A summer semester math class at a community college

These are all considered summer opportunities and learning programs. Ways to enhance your college applications and provide first hand experiences for you.

To find the perfect and most meaningful program, you must ask what type of outcome are you hoping for? Do you want college credit? Do you want to work with professors? Do you want to live on a college campus? Do you want to develop new skills or interests? Your answers to these questions will help you to narrow down the types of programs that will work for you.

Don’t forget to use the resources we have here at Blue Ridge. Take some time to visit the College Counseling Office and check out the resource binder filled with summer opportunities. These opportunities range from summer programs offered at the University of Southern California and Duke University, as well as summer student offerings at Oxbridge. Not sure what you are looking for? Send me your interests and I will consider some options for you. Parents can also access these resources. As new opportunities come across my desk, I will update the database here. Check back frequently!

Make sure to find out the application requirements for the programs you are interested in. Some programs require high school transcripts, test scores or samples of creative work. Putting these things together now will save you time in the future and will make the application process simpler.

And don’t forget, that you can still gain valuable experience and develop and learn new skills by shadowing those currently in fields that you find interesting as well as holding a summer job.


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