Updated: Nov 25, 2020
If your intentions are to go to a top college or university, you need to make productive use of your summer. Think about it.
You have literally 8-10 weeks off from school. Doing nothing will not cut it. Neither will sleeping your days away, or excessively watching TV or playing video games.
At some point this gets boring. Not to mention the fact that your parents will insist on you doing something more meaningful. “Like what?” You ask?
Before I get to that, it's important to know that research on ‘summer knowledge loss’ is pretty extensive. A search on Google Scholar yielded 1,970,000 hits. The central findings are:
A. Summer vacation effect achievement scores (Cooper et al., 1996).
1. “..children's tests scores were at least one month lower when they returned to school in fall than scores were when students left in spring” (Cooper et al., 1996).
2. Summer loss was more pronounced for math overall than for reading overall.
3. All students, regardless of the resources in their home, lost roughly equal amounts of math skills over the summer.
They concluded that “summer programs are an effective intervention for purposes of academic remediation, enrichment, or acceleration, and a knowledge base accumulated can help make the most of summer school” (Cooper, 2003).
To avoid a wasted summer, make the best use of the 8 weeks off to do some self-improvement and/or get ahead.
More importantly, it shows your motivation for learning, which is what colleges and universities look for.
Below are suggestions/ guidelines to consider:
If your reading and writing skills are weak, use the summer to improve on them by reading more and writing more analytically. For college essay writing purposes find a personal connection to your reading. For best guidance, take summer classes at your nearby college or university. This applies to other subjects, too.
Summer classes at college/university can also be used to explore and deepen academic areas of interest while earning college credits.
Summer research signals devotion to scientific inquiry, a critical aspect for students applying to study in STEM fields.
Internship/work experience matters too, especially for those seeking practical hands-on training for pre-professional fields like Hotel/Hospitality Management.
Live, Learn, and Grow.
Also, check out our article about Planning Your Summer