Most high school students look forward to winter break as a welcome break. High school life is busy and stressful with classes, study time, activities, and friends. While students do deserve some rest time, they should not let opportunity pass them by either. Winter break = A little extra time to get ahead on a path to success.
Here’s the compromise, high school parents: After a little rest and recovery, there will still be enough time for a student to do something that looks good on the college application.
Ways for a student to make the most of winter break down time:
1. Volunteering in the community. Winter break is a great time for students to clock time doing community service. Good places to look to are the public library, a nursing home, hospital, soup kitchen, homeless shelter, community center or church/synagogue. There are also organizations with extensive databases of locations looking for holiday help, including The United Way and VolunteerMatch. Volunteer work will count more if it is done in an area of the student’s interest.
2. Taking an educational trip. Consider nearby places to visit, such as a museum, national monument, historical house or even a cruise. It's best if experiences can connect with what a child is studying in school or possibly wants to study in college. For example, if a child is studying U.S. History, a trip to Philadelphia or Washington D.C. will make the lessons all the more exciting and meaningful. If a child wants to be an environmental conservationist, the Ambassadors of the Environment Youth Program onboard a Paul Gauguin cruise may provide great insight, fun and resume building into a vacation. If a physical trip is out of the question, try an electronic field trip. The National Parks Foundation and the Smithsonian Institution are two places that offer virtual field trips that give students a close-up view of popular destinations around America and the world. Talk during or after the real or virtual trip with your child to help the child analyze and find meaning in the experience.
3. Studying for the SAT and ACT. Students can really, seriously improve their scores by doing a little SAT study every day. It will be much easier to concentrate on the test without the distractions of daily homework assignments.
4. Visiting colleges. The more colleges a student has a chance to see, the better, meaning even freshmen should do some visiting. Schools can be local or near a vacation destination. Winter break is not the best time to get a full campus flavor because students are on their breaks, too. However, admissions reps are at work. So go visit schools that are not even on your student’s list. Students on a stay-cation can go on virtual college tours. There are an ever growing number of schools and sites that offer them. (TYPE: “Virtual college tour” into Google and go from there).
5. Looking into jobs. The job market is tight but temporary holiday jobs may be available. If that’s not a real possibility, winter break is a good time to begin looking for a summer job. It’s not too early. Many employers will hire summer help well before the end of the semester.
6. Doing a short term internship. Winter break is a good opportunity to explore a career. A student can spend time shadowing someone in a field or career of interest.
7. Working on the college application. Most deadlines have passed, but there are still some that haven’t.
8. Searching for scholarships. Here is a link to a past blog on how to find scholarships: How to Apply for a College Scholarship.
9. Taking classes. In the two weeks off, there are a number of options. A language immersion course could prove incredibly helpful.
10. Enjoying some down time. Like adults, students need some down time. The relaxing time will give a student time to recharge.
For more information on International College Counselors or to contact an expert college counselor, please visit http://www.internationalcollegecounselors.com or call 917-756-4630.