6 ways high school juniors can make the most of summer

June 16, 2021

For high school juniors, summer vacation is the last big chunk of time to focus solely on their interests, hobbies, passions, career pursuits, and personal growth outside of school. 

Juniors, have fun this summer! But also challenge yourselves to do things with lasting benefits. Making an effort to expand and develop yourself over summer vacation is impressive to colleges and can set you apart from other applicants with similar GPAs and test scores. 

Finding summer opportunities in 2021 can be intimidating. Fortunately for you, we’ve made the search easier and compiled a list of six enriching activities.

Get in a lab and conduct some research

When it comes to pursuing a degree in the sciences, programs can be very competitive. Experience in a lab can help you stand out from the competition, especially when you’re still in high school. 

Reach out to some labs in your region to see what internships are available. At the same time, contact high school and community college science professors. You’d be amazed by the connections they have. You can also access research opportunities through the spikeview platform. 

Exposure to research labs will be a crucial addition to your resume. It’s the type of summer gig that can provide useful hands-on experience and access to a professional network.

Volunteer a few hours each week

Summer is the perfect time to get ahead on volunteering hours. Not only do you get two months off school, but you can often make a difference while enjoying the great outdoors. 

Consider some of the following needs: delivering groceries for senior citizens, helping the staff at an animal shelter, boxing lunches for a food pantry, and cleaning up the local park. In addition to the benefit of helping others, you can include your volunteering experiences on college and job applications.

Learn from others, teach others

Colleges want future leaders, and a great way to demonstrate your potential is by mentoring others. Mentoring can come in a variety of forms: tutoring in an academic subject, giving lessons in an extracurricular activity, and being a camp counselor. Mentoring can hone in on your leadership and communication skills. 

Alternatively, high school juniors can learn from mentors by job shadowing or acting as an apprentice. As a mentee, you can gain practical insight into what a particular career involves. Whether you are the mentor or the mentee, there is immense value to be gained from the process. Be sure to consider near peer opportunities!

Develop professional skills

There are many benefits to gaining professional experience during your high school career, whether it be selling your art online or stocking shelves at a clothing store. Practically speaking, it’s the beginning of your financial independence. But working on or in a business also demonstrates personal responsibility, accountability, and a work ethic. 

There are aspects to working that will quickly feel routine and unimportant, but that get noticed by college admissions and future employers. Showing up on time, email correspondence, willingness to help coworkers, asking clarifying questions – establish good habits while you’re young. 

Find financial assistance

While it is tempting to spend this upcoming summer at the beach or in front of the TV, it’s important to get a jump on the college scholarship competition. College debt is rising at an alarming rate, and it becomes a crushing financial pressure long after graduation. Scholarships are out there, but it takes some effort on your part. 

One way to take on this challenge is to schedule blocks of time into your week dedicated to searching for opportunities and filling out applications. Maybe Monday mornings are for research and Wednesday mornings are for applying. The routine will help you overcome internal resistance. 

Narrow down your post-graduation choices

Deciding whether or not to pursue college is one of the biggest decisions you’ll make. One way to reduce the pressure is to make some lists in your junior year, narrowing down your choices. Think in terms of trade-offs. This is a time to let your mind wander about what opportunities you can pursue without a degree, and which ones need a degree.

This is one of those rare times when adults will heartily endorse screen time. YouTube can be a tremendous resource. Take some virtual campus tours, get some freelancing inspiration, and make notes about what resonates with you. Then schedule some video chats to pick the brains of others. 

How are you spending the summer?

These summer activities for high school juniors will help you develop your skills, gain valuable experiences, and make you stand out among the sea of other college applicants. Here’s the recap:

  1. Work in a lab
  2. Volunteer
  3. Be a mentor or mentee
  4. Develop skills
  5. Find scholarships
  6. Ponder options

It’s possible to have a blast and be productive this summer. Let us know how you plan to spend your time!