Summer Opportunities for Teens to Prepare for College
As much as kids look forward to summer, a recent survey shows that the majority of teens expect to be bored. And, bored teens spell trouble because they are more likely to engage in risky behaviors. Wouldn’t it be better if your teen could be engaged in activities that would actually improve their skills, broaden their horizons, and fill out their resume for college applications? There is a way – internships and community service programs!
Many people think getting a summer job is the perfect resume-builder for teens, and in many ways, it is. Any work experience builds employment skills! However, there is a difference between flipping burgers at McDonald’s and an internship at the local law firm. Surveys show that colleges and future employers look for motivated, well-rounded individuals who are thinking about their future. They like candidates who push themselves or pursue genuine interests.
Many internships are unpaid, and clearly, community service is as well, but the benefits are substantial. While your teen may miss their spending money (and you may, too), they will be investing in their future success.
Internships. Summer internships for high school students are designed to provide valuable on-the-job experience for young people and help them figure out what direction they want to take in life. The experience lets students explore possible career fields. If the student does a great job, the company may very well hire them. Your teen can search for internships online: http://www.internships.com/.
Community Service. Volunteerism is an important admissions factor for colleges. If you want your teen to stay local, talk to them about their interests and help them connect with a nonprofit. Local options include animal shelters, halfway houses, nursing homes, homeless shelters, soup kitchens or programs for young children. If you are willing to allow your teen to travel, summer service programs are an excellent option. Many summer service programs for teens are based in impoverished or rural US areas and third world countries, and will vary in size from 12 – 25 students. Service in these sorts of programs typically involves remodeling of living quarters, teaching, constructing a school, caring for animals, or environmental projects. If they are in another country, they get the added benefit of language immersion. Community service gives teens a sense of purpose, self-confidence, gratitude, and personal responsibility. It’s important that your teen pick something that they really care about for two reasons. First, they will enjoy the experience much more and get more out of it. Second, many colleges require an essay and look favorably on a candidate that can talk about their volunteer experience with passion.
Parents should help their teens find service opportunities or internships in an area of interest. If your child wants to be a teacher, maybe a camp counselor would be up their alley. If they want to work with animals, volunteering at the local SPCA would be great experience. If your teen wants to excel in the world of business, they should intern at a local company. These experiences will improve their resume, but more importantly will help them decide their future path in life.