Hire a Tutor
Tutors are typically thought of as a reactive measure to help a struggling student improve their grades. Perhaps parents should consider being proactive by hiring a personal tutor. This might not be the first idea that comes to mind when exploring summer opportunities, but perhaps it should. A tutor can teach a student a course over the summer. This will allow the student the opportunity to learn new material in a non-stressful environment. When the school year begins and the material is taught, the subject matter will be an in depth review rather than a new learning experience. This will allow the student to earn higher grades and improve their overall Grade Point Average; a major factor in the college admission process.
What subjects should the parent choose? They can opt for a course in which a student tends to earn lesser marks or they can decide on a key subject in order to prepare for a rigorous course. Either way, a parent cannot go wrong stimulating a mind that has less distractions over the summer.
Many colleges require students to demonstrate involvement in a volunteer activity on their application. Schools are especially attracted to students who volunteer outside of their high school. Students should choose activity they enjoy or are passionate about. Perhaps this could be something they are interested in pursuing after college. Potential ideas could be volunteering at the local zoo if are thinking of a career as a veterinarian. Perhaps they are interested in the Peace Corps or AmeriCorps once they graduate college. Why not begin volunteering with Habitat for Humanity or find a local church group in which to take a mission trip? Better yet, why not take a unique family vacation and have everyone enjoy the benefits of volunteering!
Colleges are fond of students who volunteer and many schools pride themselves on their volunteerism. Take Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois for examples. They offer a Peace Corp Preparatory Program (the only one in the nation) and have their own version of KnoxCorps to provide in interactive civic engagement within their community. Schools such as Knox College would be intrigued by a student who has vast volunteering experiences listed on their high school resume. In fact, Knox College is known as one of the most generous colleges when it comes to financial assistance.
If your student is participating in a high school sport, most likely there will be a summer camp or even a league. If they would like to continue playing at the next level, they should attend all optional camps and leagues. Summer athletic programs are an opportune time for a student-athlete to take initiative and earn the respect of the other players. This might even impress the coaches and earn themselves the position of captain on the varsity team. In addition, summer athletic camps will help raise their skill level and potentially help them earn college scholarships.
The same is true for the Fine Arts. If the student is involved in theatre, perhaps the high school has summer workshops for their program. If not, plenty of colleges offer these types of opportunities. Attending one of these workshops helps elevate their performance, or exposes them to additional roles in the program (set, lighting, etc...) making them more versatile and attractive to a competitive fine arts college.
Get a Job
Teenagers claim it is difficult to find a job these days, especially since many of their positions are taken by overqualified adults. But this does not mean there are not opportunities available for students. Colleges like to see students take the initiative to find a job, be able to take directions and show responsibility. If a student is very involved in school and will participate in a sport or fine art camps, colleges will not frown upon the fact that a student does not hold a job. Colleges would like to see some sort of involvement and not Captain of the Couch Potato Club on their high school resume.
Think outside the box for a job, especially involving something they enjoy. Many park districts are seeking camp counselors or even lifeguards. It is a seasonable job, but perhaps once they are hired and demonstrate responsibility, they will be asked back the following year. Perhaps a student-athlete can be a baseball/softball umpire. These jobs are great for high school students as they pay more than minimum wage (most times being paid by the game, which lasts 2 hours) and teaches students how to deal with confrontation and adversity.
Perhaps a student could caddy at a local country club. This is an excellent way of networking with adults. Similar to umpiring, the pay is higher than minimum wage and teaches skills about how to get along with demanding adults, while hustling for an extra tip. In addition, teenagers might interact with influential members in the community. This can never hurt when they are looking for a college internship or a post college graduation job. Lastly, being a caddy can lead to the Evans Scholarship. What is this? It is a full tuition and housing college scholarship for men and women. Most recipients attend one of 14 colleges where the Evans Scholars Foundation operates a scholarship house. Not a bad job where a high school student can potentially earn good money in the summer, have college paid for AND network for their post college careers.