Your teen has returned from his/her summer experience full of stories, ideas and new resolve to take on more challenges...Now what?
After catching up on sleep, the very next thing that he/she should do is to compose a personal essay about the experience while it is fresh in his/her mind. The write-up may prove useful when constructing college essays further down the road. Ideally, the essay should be about one piece of the experience, one moment where your teen felt that something mattered, or their perspective changed. If your teenager is up for it, have them write more than one essay so that they do not forget any aspect of their program. Be sure that your child receives any completed projects, grades and recommendations at the program’s close.
Preparing for the next steps:
Next, your teen should get references from any professors or leaders whom they feel may write very positively about him/her. Believe it or not, this is also a good time to start laying out a resumé and possibly establishing a LinkedIn profile. Help sort out what aspects of the experience your son or daughter most enjoyed and compare them to a list of your teen’s extracurricular activities. Are any new or particular skills or interests identified? If so, consider highlighting or focusing on the activities that appeal most to your teen, rather than filling their school year with too many activities that they are not passionate about.
Your child will be happier, and in the long run, colleges would prefer to see some depth to an applicant’s activities.
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Use this summer’s experience to begin next summer’s planning process.
Each subsequent high school summer should ideally allow a teen to become more focused and/or specialized in areas that are personal or enriching.
Finally, your teen should definitely enjoy some down time. Encourage him/her to read a book, reconnect with friends, go for a run, take a hike, lay on the beach or swim by a pool (in the shade or covered with sunscreen), or eat an ice cream cone. Between academics and extracurricular activities, the school year will no doubt be demanding. Everyone needs some time to relax and re-energize.
It would also be a great idea to spend some quality family time together. Before you know it, your teen will be attending college, and family time will be scarcer and harder than ever to schedule!
How will your teen maximize their summer experience?