Updated: Apr 27
Your summers are the perfect time to boost your CV and to fill your college and university applications with evidence of your commitment to academic and extracurricular excellence. Here are our top 10 recommendations for productive activities to do over the summer.
We hope this guide helps you to have an extraordinary summer!
1. Get an internship
An internship or a shadowing position is the perfect way to get head start in your dream career, or to help you find the one that is right for you. Whether it’s at a local law firm, a medical laboratory, a government project, at a local company or a global non-profit, wherever you live there are myriad opportunities you can explore. Start your applications early to give yourself the best chance of securing a position, and if that isn’t successful think about leveraging your connections or even cold calling. Internships not only look great on your university and college applications, but can serve as a launch pad for a starting position in your chosen career.
Volunteering to work for a non-profit or a charitable organization is an equally viable alternative to an internship. Get down to your local museum, help out with a local beach clean-up or offer your time at a homeless shelter. Demonstrate your passion to help out your community and that you are a dependable team player!
3. Give yourself a research project
Colleges and universities are keen to recruit applicants with an insatiable curiosity for learning and personal initiative. What better way to demonstrate this than by finding a topic you’ve always been interested in, or an up-and-coming area in your field which is under-researched and become an expert! For instance,
What are the differences between the competing schools of economics and to what extent does history support or refute these?
What is the difference between speculative trading and investing as defined by the greatest teacher of investing of all time and what results can you expect by practicing each?
What are the philosophical divides between allopathic and naturopathic medicine, and under what circumstances might each be superior?
What are the commonalities between the world’s most successful lawyers?
What will be the most valuable technologies in the 21st century?
Enjoy the opportunity to expand your knowledge outside of your school curriculum with a self-taught summer project!
4. Start an enterprise
Entrepreneurship is one of the three primary ways people become wealthy (the other two being the stock market and real estate), and every great entrepreneur knows that in order to be successful you have to (i) pull the trigger and actually make a start, and (ii) learn how to overcome inevitable setbacks and temporary failures. What better way to practice these skills than by starting today! While you could always open the proverbial lemonade stand, why not get more creative. What marketable skills do you currently have? Ask your neighbors what they’re lacking and how you could help them out – can you mentor their young children? Get your friends to join in and take a cut of the business you find for them. Host drop-in sessions for elderly people who struggle with their computers or cell phones. Run coding classes for kids. Launch a local babysitting business with your friends. Start a community newsletter delivered door-to-door and find paying advertisers. This is one of the most rewarding summer activities you can do and will help lay the foundation for even greater future successes. With some hard work, you may even be able keep growing it after the summer is over!
5. Become a political activist
Being intelligently politically engaged is an indicator that you’re already become a proactive and long-term thinker even before you enter college. To make an effective argument always make sure you understand both sides of an issue. If you don’t know enough yet to do so, make your own investigation. With the internet the all the history and knowledge of the world is available at your finger tips. You don’t have to start a revolution overnight, but you could find out what issues excite you by reading the news every day. If you fancy yourself as the next political hero or champion for truth, what better way to start than by hosting a clothes swap or organize a litter pick. Or if you’re passionate about a particular cause, consider working a summer job and donating your proceeds, or helping a worthy charity fund raise.
6. Get creative
You don’t need a formal internship or volunteering position to start doing what you love. Make a website (if you don’t know how yet, teach yourself – there are many easy and free tools to get started such as Wix). Fancy yourself as a journalist or social commentator? Start a blog and take photographs to bring your articles alive. You could write and direct an original film, produce a play for the local community (and sell tickets), design and sell t-shirts on Teespring, join a band or start a choir, begin learning how to invest or to code. You could even learn how to create your own animations or graphic designs. Creativity and initiative are things that all universities and employers value highly. It shows that you can think outside of the box and get results regardless of any obstacles. Start building your portfolio today! The world is waiting for you to take action!
7. Learn a new language
Learning a new language is not only impressive, it expands your horizons and makes you an asset to any team, including in jobs in Business, Tech, and Law which have become increasingly international. You could do it for free with an app, do an online course, attend a class, or even organize an exchange program with friends or family who live overseas. Or if Classics, Literature, History, Theology, or Medicine is your cup of tea, learning a foundational language like Latin, Hebrew, or ancient Greek will add a whole new dimension to your studies and give you a head start on your college courses. Check out free online flashcard apps such as Anki (which is Japanese for ‘memory’) which have ready-made card decks in many languages, and which optimizes your learning speed. You can even use Anki for other classes you need to memorize things such as math and science!
8. Make an educational visit
As a tourist we tend to actively seek out our destination’s main attractions, but too often we may ignore the wonders that are right in front of our doorstep – many of which don’t charge a penny for admission. Head to a museum relating to your area of interest, go to a local concert, visit your law courts, or a local heritage site, or explore a new art exhibition. To make your summer extra productive, you could even attend some free lectures at a local university. Get creative and you will find new opportunities right in your own backyard!
9. Enter a competition
Your summers before college are a great opportunity to put your abilities to the test. Ask your teachers if they know of any award schemes or competitions you can join and use the vacation to submit an entry. This could be for a science fair, photography, poetry or writing competition, an essay award, or a Model United Nations challenge. Or why not join the World Scholars Academy Investment Team. You can even set your sights on entering competitions and preparing essays to win free scholarship money for college!
10. Attend a summer school
Summer schools come in many different shapes and sizes, and can be ideal option for anyone wanting to pursue their subject in depth or to get a taste of life after high school. The best summer schools are designed to inspire you and to help you to dream big, to broaden your horizons whilst narrowing your focus and sharpening your interest. They can also expose you academic insights and proper educational mindsets that are simply not available outside the world’s elite institutions. You’ll also have lots of fun and have the opportunity to forge life-long friendships with other academically-serious students from all around the world. Having a summer program on your CV or personal statement proves your commitment to excellence extends beyond standard school hours and that you are an enthusiastic high achiever.
With some focus, determination, and a little creativity, you can transform your summer into an exciting launchpad for your future success. Get some achievements under your belt and acquire the tools you need to make your life exceptional. As the ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle said, “Choice, not chance, determines your destiny”, so take the initiative and start planning your productive summer activities right now!
Ask your teachers about any existing summer programs, internships, or award schemes you are eligible for, and do your own research on the internet
Check out Youtube videos such as this one for more ideas on activities to make the most out of your summer