READ. Read five books. Read five books that are NOT required for school. Read about history, or math, or culture, or something you don’t know about. Read a classic, a true crime novel, or a light summer romance. It doesn’t have to be a 1,000 page tome that will put you to sleep. Just read.
Do your summer homework. You know it’s there – you might as well get it done early. ‘Nuff said.
Explore. What problems do you want to solve in the world? What interests you? Your college search will be guided by these questions (among many). Can you shadow a doctor for a day? Work in an office? Watch your friend’s mom’s closing arguments? Volunteer for a cause that interests you (more on this in a moment)? Hang out at a museum for an afternoon? Take public transit somewhere? What can you do this summer that will help you think about your future career path? You don’t have to choose one now, but take this opportunity to start thinking about it!
Think about test prep. Even if you’re just starting 10th grade, you still have an SAT or ACT in your future! It may not be immediate, but you can still set up a Khan Academy account or check out a test prep study guide from the library. If you aren’t sure when you should take the SAT or ACT, check out this post.
See who needs your help. Many students do one or two-week service projects in beautiful, exotic locations. That’s nice, but no matter where you live, there are probably volunteer opportunities to help people in need right in your own community. Colleges look kindly on students who look outside their “bubble” and use their time and talents on a regular basis to help others. This summer, find a local organization where you can volunteer once or twice a week. You may find that you learn more from staying closer to home!
Pay some attention to your mental health. We know high school is really stressful, and the college search and application process seems to add even more stress. So before you launch headlong into it, take some time to do what you like. Schedule some time each day, or each week, away from social media and just do something enjoyable.