How to (Really) Use Your Summer


How can you use your summer to make application season easier? As the weather heats up and your days get longer, your productivity can increase too. While summer is an important time to take a break from your academic load and relax, or make some pocket money, there are some simple ways to maximize your summer to make your fall (and spring) that much more relaxing too.  

Job Shadow: Your hours are now better aligned with the professionals you might like to be someday! Take advantage of your free mornings and afternoons and contact local organizations or businesses that are doing the kind of work you’re dreaming about. Surgeons? Physical Therapists? Small Business Owners? Web Designers? What does a day-in-the-life really look like? You’d be surprised who will let you look over their shoulder for a few hours if you ask. Check LinkedIn for professionals near you and send an email inquiry.


Volunteer: Choose one organization or cause and really throw your weight behind it this summer. Where…? How…? What…? It’s hard to know what you might really care enough about to donate your time to, but try making a list of your favorite activities and see how you can fit your volunteering into your interests. Do you like theater? See if you can volunteer in a local scene or costume shop. Are you passionate about helping kids? Volunteer with the Boys and Girls Club and lead younger kids through a great summer too. Brainstorm with your friends and see what you can do together. If you volunteer with a few others, it might help keep the commitment going through August and beyond.


Write Your Essay Draft Check out the Common App essay prompts and brainstorm topics before school’s back in session and more pressing assignments pile up. Share your rough draft with your Hughes Advisor and you two can kick it into shape by September so the deadlines aren’t so daunting.


Keep Prepping For Those Tests A lot of that knowledge and strategy you’ve been cultivating can seem to slip away in the summer months, which leaves you in a panic come fall testing season. Stay on top of your ACT and SAT test prep and practice all summer. Just a few hours a week can make a huge difference to maintaining or improving your score your senior year.


Research Your Schools Keeping on top of your school research and finalizing your list of schools is beneficial for a million reasons, including confronting the fear of the unknown. But if you already have your list ready, doing preliminary research (like which programs, professors and activities you’ll want to participate in at each school) can improve your essays/applications and save you time later when you’ve forgotten what exactly each major is called at each of your schools.


Campus Visits Even if you live in the same town as a potential campus, visiting schools on your list (or off it) can help you make your decision later, and can help strengthen your applications. Take a tour, sit in on summer classes, talk to professors. Can’t travel to any campuses locally? Lots of universities now offer virtual tours. Check out or schools’ websites for access.

  Hughes College Prep can help you with every single one of these steps, and can guide you through a productive summer. Contact us today for more information on keeping your summer fun and rewarding.