At Green Ivy, we like to periodically spotlight on some of our favorite summer programs at colleges and other venues, featuring everything from STEM research and creative writing courses to outdoor adventure trips. Those featured programs are great ways to spend part of your summer, but they may not be the right fit for students who are limited financially or time-wise. Colleges are looking for a wide range of activities when considering applicants, so we wanted to provide some additional resources to help students think broadly and creatively about how to shape their summer plans.
Get entrepreneurial. Starting your own business can be a great way to both generate income and gain important life and work skills. It doesn’t have to be complicated—things like landscaping and babysitting qualify—but what running a business on your own will teach you about organization, marketing, time management, and communication will be invaluable.
Volunteer with a nonprofit whose mission you are passionate about. Oftentimes, students think that picking the “right” kind of community service (or just doing a ton of it) will impress colleges. The truth is, the best kind of service work enables students to donate their time to issues they would like to see addressed in their community. Start with a nonprofit that you think does great work and go from there.
Work at a summer camp. There are myriad reasons why working at a summer camp is a great idea, not the least of which is having the chance to experience the outdoors full-time and unplug from technology. In addition, working at a camp can help you develop all kinds of skills, from supervising younger students to engaging them in creative and recreational adventures. If you want to travel, a sleep-away camp may be the answer, but if you’d rather stay closer to home, day camps are offered through many venues, including the YMCA or your local parks and recreation department.
Get a job in retail or customer service. There’s nothing like working with the public to help hone your communication skills and sharpen your ability to interact with people of all ages and backgrounds. Small businesses and chain stores are often willing to hire high school students, and shopping around your resume now isn’t a bad idea. If you wait until late May or early June, chances are many positions will have already been filled.
Take classes at a local community college or parks and recreation department. Always wanted to learn how to code or create an app? How about the basics of making pottery or drawing? College campuses and city governments offer a wide range of summer courses that are open to high school students, and many can be taken for college credit if desired. This is a fantastic way to try something you’ve always wanted to do or take a deeper dive into a subject that fascinates you.