Seven Awesome Ways to Spend Your Summer

Summer Experiences

Who doesn’t love thinking about summer? We’ve got some tips about how to make those long summer days count as you gear up towards college. This advice we’re sharing below is from The Guide. Our Guide is free, written by students for students. You can download it from our website for free and gain step-by-step tips on every step of the college application process.


The summer is an excellent time to pursue your interests. Deliberately choosing how you spend your several-month summer break can demonstrate to colleges a lot about who you are and what you like. Summers rock! Be a kid, have fun, hang out with friends and family, but also think about how you can continue learning during your summers. There are endless ways you can spend the high school summers, but here are some common ones.

1. Working. Working is an awesome opportunity to demonstrate character and responsibility. Most of our authors held summer jobs, including as a mover and a Wendy’s fry cook. Don’t be afraid to list your work experience on your application. It shows commitment, responsibility, and perseverance.


2. Shadowing. Shadowing at the vets, doctor offices, or any profession allows an excellent opportunity to explore your possibilities, is accessible for many, and again is looked favorably upon. Email or call professionals of interest in your area and many would be happy to offer a shadowing experience – whether half a day, a full day, or longer – to a proactive and interested student.

3. Summer school. As mentioned before, summer school can be a wonderful opportunity to engage with subjects in a relaxed environment while also raising your GPA.

4. Volunteering. Volunteering at an organization of interest is a great way to give back to your community, demonstrate interest, and productively spend a summer break.


5. Volunteering abroad. You’ve probably seen it: pictures of a high school student building a house in a rural village in a developing country. There is a lot of merit here, but the experience — and especially those experiences achieved through more formal programs — may be a lot less valuable than they appear to be. College admissions officers know that many of these programs are expensive and only accessible to those with the resources. Students won’t be at a disadvantage for not taking part in a program like this, but will be if they don’t find another way to grow from their summers. That said, some programs offer financial aid and many do offer great opportunities for students to travel and do something meaningful.


6. College programs. Like volunteering abroad, college programs are typically expensive and many students can’t afford them. However , taking/auditing college classes or getting involved with a professor’s research over the summer (email professors) is a fantastic way to get in research experience, find out more about yourself, and distinguish your application.


7. Research. Demonstrate academic interest by pursuing research at a local college or research institute. This can be a good way to learn about a topic of interest or a potential career path