Summer Programs! But does it matter?

Summer Programs! But does it matter?

A lot of people (parents especially) have a lot of anxiety over their teen's summer activities. So let's cut to the chase.

Summer does matter. Period. 

Everything your teen does from the moment they step out of 8th grade, counts. The summer between the 8th and 9th grades is considered the 9th-grade summer; between 9th and 10th is the 10th-grade summer, and so on. 

Your job is to track what your teen does during those non-academic times of the year. But it doesn't have to be difficult to do so. It could be that it's in your online Google calendar or you've taken photos that are still on your phone. That's good enough until it's time to put together your teen's "high school to college resume" to help your teen remember for college and scholarship applications.

But what exactly should your teens be doing during those summers? How important is it?

If you realize that the school year is rather full of academics and afterschool activities, the summers and sometimes the winter breaks can be very impactful when it comes to college acceptance and scholarships.  

For many teens, the summers offer opportunities that are not available during the school term, and, for most, summers allow for the teen to have more input into how they spend that time. Colleges are looking at that.

But, before you sell the car or get a second mortgage for the summer program at Harvard, hear this. Those programs are typically not run by the college. These are usually outside parties renting the college facilities for the summer programs. Even on the occasion that the college is offering the program (LSU has a Beowulf Bootcamp where your teen can learn to program a supercomputer) it has zero impact on college admissions in the way that most parents think.

Do summer programs show interest in the college?

No. Colleges that track "demonstrated interest" do not include if the teen attended a summer program there.

What a summer program (anywhere) can do is it can add to what the teen is already interested in. Perhaps it's a career interest or a hobby. It doesn't matter which. But it's also perfectly fine if one summer your teens took a summer to go rock climbing. That may be the only occurrence of rock climbing on your teen's application. And that's ok.

The point is that there should be some thought put into the process. Some planning. Every time someone "wings it", regardless of what the "it" is, never turns out great. You don't want a totally nothing summer where your teen is playing video games the entire time with nothing else to show for the 3 months.

But other things that you may not consider important are.: Johnny might play video games most weekdays throughout the summer but on weekends he is very active in his church youth group, plays guitar in the youth band, and for one or two weeks is a camp counselor for the middle school youth (that's leadership).

It's all good.

So what are your teens doing this summer? There's still time to look around in your home state for what's available nearby (internet search for "summer opportunities for high school students in" my state) or a specific search nationwide based on topics that would interest your teen.

Let me know what you find!

To your success,





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