Summer Activities to Help Your High Schooler Prepare for College
Parents, whether you have a rising freshman, sophomore, junior or senior it’s vital to engage in various activities during the summers to help their students get ready for college and alleviate stress.
Based on College Careers Consulting’s experience, here are nine things you can do for them, or encourage them to do during their summers. To make your summers enjoyable for the entire family avoid saying the dreaded ‘C’ word (College)! That word happens to trigger stress, fear, and sometimes anger! Instead, after this blog simply weave these activities into your summer routine. Here are nine items and tips that are directly related to the college application process.
Explore Local Colleges:
Start by touring different local colleges with your student. This allows them to get a feel for the size, setting, and demographic that resonates with them. Visiting campuses can be an eye-opening experience and help your student envision their future. After debriefing, keep a record of your students impressions so they can answer the ‘Why this college?’ essay authentically. Share stories of your own college experiences, the memories you cherish, and how it shaped your life. These anecdotes can spark conversations and make the college exploration process more engaging.
Starting in freshman year, start touring different local colleges with your student to help them get a feel for different campuses, sizes, settings, and demographics. This will assist them in narrowing down their preferences and finding the right fit.
After touring colleges, encourage your student to research the ones that align with their preferences. Equip yourself with 5 things parents should know about choosing a college to help you with this process. Attend virtual information sessions, explore college websites, and gather information about admission requirements, programs, and scholarships. This will help them make informed decisions during the college application process. Do online research to find successful individuals who attended and/or find someone in your circle to have a face-to-face conversation about the impact their education had on their lives. Collect brochures, pamphlets, and other resources to create a college information bank for your student. Sign-up to be on their mailing list and make sure you open their emails. Showing demonstrated interest speaks to college officers.
Share Childhood Stories:
Utilize dinner and drive time to reminisce about your child’s childhood. Their frontal lobe is still developing, so don’t be surprised if they struggle to recall some stories. Patiently share and re-share stories that highlight their strengths, passions, and interests. Focus on stories that demonstrate growth in character traits. We strongly recommend that parents consider recording these stories for them to help their student access them later when they write their personal essays. Our team relies heavily on parents to provide us with stories when we coach students with the essay writing process. We love journals filled with stories! These stories also provide students with a strong foundation for self-reflection and personal growth.
Help your student create a system to track their activities from freshman year. This will prove invaluable when filling out college applications, as they’ll need to provide detailed information about their extracurricular involvement. Encourage them to include family responsibilities, part-time jobs, internships, volunteer work, hobbies, and sports. Keep in mind that they’ll need to provide details about their extracurricular involvement, including the type of activity, location, skills developed, years of participation, and hours per week. If you would like to receive our free activity tracking sheet, contact us today.
Colleges are concerned about students’ mental and physical well-being. Guide your student to find ways to decompress and relax. Whether it’s playing music, drawing, taking walks, reading, journaling, or engaging in a hobby, let them take the lead. Share stories of how you used these activities to rejuvenate and manage stress during your own college years. By encouraging self-reflection and self-care, you’re helping them develop healthy habits that will benefit them in college and beyond. Your student will also have a chance to share this information on their application.
Teach Effective Time Management:
Help your student understand their thinking style without shaming them. Some individuals are better at handling things in the present, while others focus more on the future. Assist your student in creating a schedule and organizing their time effectively. Encourage them to set goals, prioritize tasks, and maintain a balanced approach to academics, extracurricular activities, and personal life.
Support Summer Internships or Jobs:
Encourage your student to gain real-world experience through internships, part-time jobs, or volunteer work. These experiences provide valuable skills and insights for their future college and career. Share stories of individuals who landed amazing internships or jobs during their summers, which ultimately shaped their career paths. This will motivate your student and give them a broader perspective on the benefits of these opportunities.
Attend Online Webinars and Classes:
Once you get on a few mailing lists, encourage your high schooler to embark on this virtual exploration journey. By diving into college websites, participating in webinars and classes, and making their presence known, they’ll gain a deeper understanding of subjects they are passionate about, familiarize themselves with teaching styles and professors, and get a taste of the college experience. It’s an empowering adventure that can shape their college choices and open doors to a world of opportunities. Our students have made better college and career choices as well as earned negotiating power through this experience.
Develop Financial Literacy:
Start having conversations about the cost of college attendance, your contribution, and what your student will be responsible for. Make sure your student has some skin in the game – it can be a game changer. Teach your student about budgeting, saving, and managing finances. Discuss the importance of financial responsibility and help them understand the basics of student loans, scholarships, and financial aid. Read this 2-minute story about how delaying a conservation about college finances lead to an unexpected twist in their daughter’s college journey.
Remember to maintain a supportive and open dialogue with your student throughout the process. College preparation is a journey, and providing guidance and encouragement will help alleviate stress and foster a smooth transition to higher education.
Our experienced coaches are here to help students prepare for college. Contact us today