Congratulations to the Class of 2020! Some of you are DONE and some of you are SO CLOSE to walking (six feet apart) across the graduation finish line. Here are a few things to remember as you prepare to attend college in the fall.
 Celebrate your accomplishment! You did it!
 Check in with your college – weekly. Some colleges are starting on campus classes in August, September, or October. Some will be completely online for the fall semester. Some won't make a final decision until early August.
 Schedule student orientation. Many colleges are holding orientations online or delaying until just before the fall semester. Either way, orientation usually includes valuable advising information and allows you to register for classes.
 Submit your final transcript and other required documents.
 Say thank you! Tell teachers, counselors, mentors, tutors, coaches and others that have helped you, “Thank you”. Give SPECIAL thanks and appreciation to your parents and family for support. Invite them to remain a part of your community to help you succeed in college!
 Make summer meaningful. Plan to work, improve your study skills, learn something new, or spend time (whether online or in person) with friends and family this summer. Save any money you earn for when you start college in the fall.
 Check your health records. Get your physical. Confirm your health insurance. Purchase a small first-aid kit. Maintain your exercise and nutrition routine over the summer. Don't allow the Freshman 15 to piggy back on the Quarantine 15.
 Reaffirm your higher calling and determination to graduate with a bachelor's in four years!
Summer can be the best time for students to recharge, explore, and think about their future. High school students, especially freshmen and sophomores, should use the break to unwind, but also plan for the next academic year. You'll also have time to fine tune your higher calling while exploring your options. Opportunities worth mentioning include summer programs at universities, campus visits, internships, part time jobs, and volunteering. Let’s get started!
Summer programs are designed for high school students to experience a field of study before pursuing it as a major. For example, if you think engineering might be a good major to pursue, it would be wise to participate in an engineering summer program where you would get a feel for what the major actually entails (hint: lots of math and science). You will also get to spend a week or more (depending on the program) on campus, which would introduce you to college life.
The downside to summer programs is that they tend to be fairly expensive. So, if your family isn’t able to afford a summer program and scholarships are not available, an alternate way to experience college would be to visit campuses. A college visit could be as simple as a day trip with your parents where you tour the campus and speak with university representatives, or if your schedule allows, you could make multiple campus visits over the period of a week. Oftentimes, visiting a campus is the best way to determine what you desire in the college experience. Remember, it isn’t only about academics.
But, if you have already visited campuses or plan to do so in the fall it might be better for you to focus on working this summer. Part time jobs are a fantastic way to gain an understanding of business and establish a solid work ethic, or you could think about internship opportunities with local companies and organizations. Internships are great for students who have an idea about what they want to study because they introduce you to people and companies that are doing what you’re interested in. For example, if you want to work for a magazine one day and you get an internship with a local periodical or newspaper, you will get to see what your potential future career looks like on a daily basis.
If internships and part-time jobs aren’t exactly what you’re looking for, and you desire a more altruistic summer experience, see if there are any volunteer opportunities near your home. Contact schools, hospitals, and non-profit organizations to ask about age and experience requirements, and you will be well on your way to getting involved with something philanthropic this summer.
From summer programs to college visits, part time jobs to internships, the most important thing for high school students is to make the most of your summer! Think about how you’d like to spend your time, and get started because the next school semester will be here before you know it. Download TeenLife’s Guide to Overnight Summer Programs for more ideas. Have fun planning for college and your future career this summer!
Combining my youth ministry and educational consulting experience, I guide students to connect higher education with God's calling.