Summer is here, and with it brings a wealth of opportunity to learn, try new things, and explore your interests in greater depth. It can feel a bit overwhelming at first, trying to decide how to spend one’s time over the summer; and without direction, one can easily find themselves developing a less than savory Animal Crossing or Fortnite addiction. We at Empowerly, as graduates of some of the top universities across the nation, have been there, done that—and we are here to give you some inside knowledge as to how you can make your summer meaningful and fun.
You can enjoy your summer while staying safe—and productive—without breaking a sweat.
Consider some of the following activities, and know that we are here to help. Take advantage of our free profile review by signing up for access to the Digital Toolkit. We'll help you assess your summer plan and overall standing in regards to college admissions, helping you target summer activities to specifically suit your goals. In the meantime, here are some great places to start!
Be the change you want to see, and join a service organization. You can support hard-hit metro Detroit virtually with Fortunate Kids as a contributing author or summer reading tutor. Through Benetech you can empower human rights defenders and support the creation of accessible audio, braille, and ebooks for students with “reading barriers, such as dyslexia, blindness, and cerebral palsy.” A simple, but important voluntary activity comes in donating blood every two months. Does giving blood make you squeamish? Check out AllForGood.org and Volunteer Match for more service ideas. Another cool feature in the Digital Toolkit is our volunteering database! Be sure to check that out as well before you cross volunteering off your list.
Take an Online Course... for Free!
Get a taste for university learning at a number of renowned universities that are offering free online classes taught by professors, across a wide spread of subjects. Most use a pre-recorded class format, allowing students to watch the material at their leisure.
- Open Yale is providing “introductory courses taught by distinguished teachers and scholars at Yale University. The aim of the project is to expand access to educational materials for all who wish to learn. All lectures were recorded in the Yale College classroom and are available in video, audio, and text transcript formats. Registration is not required.”
- Harvard University offers 91 options of four-week to twelve-week classes, across a wide array of subjects.
- Stanford University offers many classes across multiple platforms, including edx and Coursera. I am trying to choose between Organizational Analysis and Forest Monitoring!
Learn a Language.
Not only will learning a new language allow you to more seamlessly travel the world, engaging in new cultures, but the mental benefits are also countless. A multilingual background can lead to improved memory, problem-solving and critical-thinking skills, enhanced concentration, ability to multitask, and better listening skills, as well as signs of increased creativity and flexibility. Picking up a second, or third, or fourth language also provides a significant boost in future job placements. “The demand for bilingual professionals is rising exponentially. In fact, between 2010 and 2015, the number of U.S. job postings specifically geared toward bilingual candidates more than doubled.(1)”
Tried and true Rosetta Stone offers free trials of their linguist developed, Dynamic Immersion® programming. Sign up for temporary access on a month-to-month basis or choose lifetime access to learning a language of your choice. For a fun, game-like approach to learning a foreign language try Duolingo. Duolingo offers a grab-and-go option that is accessible on your phone, allowing you to learn a language at your leisure.
Design a New Extracurricular Club.
Is there a club that you wished existed at your school? Starting a high school club is a great way to create your own leadership opportunity and demonstrate your genuine drive or passion. A new club pretty much guarantees you a leadership position like President, giving you the opportunity to practice leadership. Seasoned leadership skills will further your extracurricular profile.
Save the Planet.
Volunteer with Ocean Conservancy to pick up litter along the world’s shorelines or find a local park or Adopt a Highway program to assist in beautifying your community. Research environmental activism platforms, such as People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, and educate yourself on current global, environmental issues.
Create a Competition List and Schedule.
Create a spreadsheet of the various writing, research, art, and other competitions with which you have an interest. Add deadlines for these competitions and arrange these chronologically, so you can develop a plan of action to commit to throughout the year.
Plan Ahead for College Admissions.
Well surely, as a college admissions consulting company, we are going to advocate for your planning well ahead for college admissions. Start by performing some research on schools by searching U.S. World & News Report’s listings on each school. Try to define what majors you may be interested in, and when you are ready, contact us to determine your pathway towards admittance to your top choice schools.
Apply for Scholarships.
Today, the average student is graduating with more than $20,000 of loan debt. Fortunately, there may be around $3 billion in private scholarship aid available each year for students who know where to look.
Create a profile on scholarship search engines like fastweb.com, collegeboard.com, and scholarships.com to discover a wealth of scholarships. Create a spreadsheet to document which scholarships that you are applying to and readily update this to ensure that you meet deadlines.
Looking for even more scholarships? You already know where to look; log into your Digital Toolkit and browse our scholarships database for suggestions.
Be Creative: Join a Collage, Poetry, or Online Art Group.
Stretch the right side of your brain by creating art on your own or joining a group that will encourage your creativity. Memory Project offers an opportunity for high school students to engage in a one-to-one global art exchange with students from Russia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Syria, and Nigeria. Choose to share visual art or poetry through one of their programs and experience some interesting, international, creative bonding.
Summer reading isn't just a chore this year.
Inspired, but unsure of how to move forward with carrying out your summer plans? Reach out to us at Empowerly for a free profile review and we will help you plan and visualize how to set the right routine to help you lead a fun and fulfilling summer.