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Sonoma Family Life Magazine

Teens: Make the Most of Summer

May 19, 2006 12:00AM

Most college admissions offices want to know how you use your time during the summer. Summer counts! Although you may not be able to travel to the ends of the earth, bring about world peace, and end poverty —all in eight weeks—there are things you can do to learn something new, develop your interests, and give of your time and talents in your community while having fun and building experiences for your college applications.

First, take a break , sleep in, play video games, hang out at the pool and RELAX! Then be ready to put into action a plan to develop emerging interests, fine tune your skills, or make a difference in the community. Use your plan to insure this is the summer that counts!


Begin to explore some areas of interest and try out potential careers. Talk to your parents, your friends’ parents, neighbors, teachers and local businesses about their work. For example, if you love animals and think you may want to be a veterinarian, ask your local vet if you can come in and help out one day a week to learn the business. You won’t get paid, and may have to sweep a few floors, but you’ll be closer to knowing if it is a career you’d like to pursue.

College Visits

If you are out of town on vacation, do some research ahead of time and take the family for a “side trip” to a college of interest. Even if you don’t do a formal tour, just walking around the campus and seeing the local area can begin to give you ideas of where you would feel most comfortable. Find ways to interact with college students to find out what they like or dislike about their college choice.

Attend a Class or Summer Camp

Learn a new skill or improve an existing one! Look into summer school, Parks and Recreation Departments, independent organizations, and college summer camps – art, drama, dance, photography, sports, drafting, computer skills and more!

Start your own Business

You’ll earn some spending money (or college savings!) while demonstrating your leadership and entrepreneurial spirit.

Some examples include:

  • Do you enjoy playing a musical instrument? Offer to teach introductory lessons to other musicians.
  • Are you a great baseball or softball pitcher? Start a pitching camp for younger players.
  • Excel at math? Propose to tutor students in need of extra help.

Volunteer Opportunities

There are hundreds of volunteer opportunities in your local area. For example, check with your church or religious organization, the local Parks & Recreation Department, Special Olympics, United Way, and your local city office for unlimited opportunities to server others while developing your skills and meeting new people. Make your plan now to insure this is the summer that counts!