Your student may be looking forward to three months of endless home cooked meals and trips to the lake or beach, but not all their time should be spent playing this summer!
In an economy like this, a precious commodity like time should really be used. Here are a few ways your student can spend time productively this summer.
- Apply for (Specific!) Scholarships. Students should start by thinking about their defining characteristics-the things that make them unique. These can include things like hobbies, academics, club involvement, even allergies or height! Use this list to search out scholarships that match those characteristics. The more specific a scholarship is, the smaller its pool of applicants will be-and that means less competition!
- Volunteer or Intern (with a Passion!). Aside from looking attractive to colleges, employers, and scholarship judges, volunteering or interning can be a self-defining experience for your student. I recommend searching out an organization associated with an area your student feels passionate about-maybe even a potential future career-so the student can get a feel for working in that field day-in and day-out. (It can also be a powerful networking tool for the post-graduate job search.)
- Get Creative About Earning Cash. We all know the job market is tough right now, so if your student can’t find a traditional summer job, suggest that he or she think of other ways to earn money. Whether its house sitting for a neighbor, doing some temp work for a friend’s parent, or even cleaning out the garage and having a sale or posting the discards on EBay, there are still ways your student can earn some cash for college this summer.
I am hard pressed to think of a student who is thrilled with the idea of rising early to start working on a scholarship application, so consider breaking down your student’s productivity goals by week or month. And make it a family project – you can help search for scholarships and fill in sections of the scholarship applications that your student doesn’t need to answer such as “name”, “address”, “e-mail”, etc. As important as it is to have a work ethic, it is also important for students to enjoy these last few years before they become fully independent. After all, once college is over, so are those coveted summer breaks!
All the best,