Hi! I am Ellie, the new summer intern at Capstone. I'll be involved in spreading the word about college admissions news and communicating advice from our experts, all while gaining skills and work experience, before I start college this fall. I’m also excited to have a paid job so I can save money for college even as I practice social distancing.
If you are like most students this summer, you have probably finished your school year and are now sitting at home, wondering what to do next. Every student I know is wondering how to stay engaged and motivated after many typical summer activities evaporated. Thinking about what to do is a good idea—and not just because your parents keep asking you to. After all, colleges look at how you spend your time over the summer. More importantly, you should plan activities to take care of your mental and physical health during the pandemic. Especially this year, summer also offers the opportunity for completely student-directed activities, allowing you to take control of your own time.
So, here are a few ideas to get started:
- Sign up for the Institute for Educational Advancement’s Spyglass interactive online workshops on topics like mathematics, speech and debate, civics, and more.
- Take a community college class online, with permission from your high school counselor.
- Check out Impact 2020, a program by the National Network of Schools in Partnership and Close Up Foundation for middle and high school students to learn about civics and activism.
- Start a book club. (My friends and I have scheduled weekly “Fiction à la Facetime” meetings!)
- Learn a new language by auditing a class on Coursera or by using Duolingo or Natakallam.
- Conduct science experiments at any level from home with Google’s Science Journal. Use physics to build a balloon-powered car, or make a model of an earthquake-resistant house.
- Look for virtual volunteer opportunities at the UN to find a cause you can contribute to, with a time commitment that works for you.
Just for fun
- Check out all the museums with virtual content and explore street art around the world.
- Have a movie night or host a games night on Zoom or another video chat app with family or friends. Here is a list of games if you’re out of ideas.
- Pick up a new hobby. Maybe you’ve always wanted to grow your own vegetables, play a new instrument, or learn calligraphy or coding. There’s no time like the present.
Above all, set goals for how you want to use your summer, and spend your time doing something you can get excited about. Especially now, it’s crucial to reach out to others, and colleges certainly understand that you might be devoting more time to your family.
I know there’s a lot of pressure to be productive or “successful” in quarantine, but checking in with others—whether that’s Zooming with family members, sending a friend a card for no reason, or helping your neighbors with groceries—may be the most important thing you do this summer.