Seizing the Summer: How High School Students Can Propel Their College Success

Summer breaks are a golden opportunity for students to not only rest and recharge but also accelerate their college success. It was only after I graduated from USC with a degree in Arts, Technology, and the Business of Innovation that I truly understood the importance of making the most of these precious months.

Whether through internships, summer classes, networking, or saving money, summer offers a unique period for growth and preparation. My experiences during high school and college summer breaks shaped my journey and paved my path to where I am today. Read on to explore the exciting ways your student can use summer to their advantage.

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1. Real-World Experience and Skill Building

Internships are a fantastic way for students to gain hands-on experience in fields they’re interested in. These opportunities give them academic knowledge in real-world settings, which can enhance their college applications and résumés. Internships can also provide valuable industry contacts that may be beneficial during and after college.

During my last high school summer, I landed a paid technical internship at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California. This was my first experience with programming, and it set the stage for my future pursuits in technology, including my minor in computer science.

Encourage your teen to research internships related to their intended major or career interests. Local businesses, nonprofit organizations, and remote opportunities offer endless possibilities to suit different passions and schedules.

2. Stay Ahead Academically

Summer classes can help your teen lighten their future course load and even help them graduate earlier. Summer classes are also a great way for students to strengthen their understanding of challenging subjects or advance in areas of interest. Many community colleges offer dual enrollment programs that allow high schoolers to earn college credits at a reduced cost.

One summer in high school, I took geometry at my local community college so I could finish my math requirements a year early. Earning college math credits over the summer gave me more time to explore interdisciplinary courses and focus on interview prep for jobs and internships during college.

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3. Connections That Count

Networking isn’t just for adults. Your student can also benefit from building a network of mentors, educators, and peers who share similar academic and career goals. Attending workshops, university tours, and educational fairs during the summer opens doors to opportunities and guidance as they transition to college.

Parents can facilitate networking by helping their teens connect with school alumni, teachers, and professionals in desired fields through platforms like LinkedIn.

I didn’t have many opportunities to meet industry professionals in person, so I spent a lot of my summers building my network on LinkedIn through cold messaging. This effort eventually paid off with my internship as a software engineer at LinkedIn.

Avni Barman

4. Saving Money: Financial Preparation for College

Financial readiness is just as crucial as academic preparation. Summer jobs or entrepreneurial ventures like tutoring, lawn care, or online sales teach valuable life skills and allow students to save money for college.

Encouraging your teen to save a portion of their earnings can instill financial discipline that lasts a lifetime. To support their understanding of financial independence, explore free tools like College Ave’s student loan calculator and student budget worksheet together to help them plan and manage future education expenses.

During my time at USC, I would hustle all year to land a paid summer internship so I could start building my savings for the upcoming school year. If I couldn’t land an internship, I found a paid job that was still mentally stimulating, like tutoring. These savings covered things like rent, food, and social activities with friends during the school year, so I could rely on traditional student loans only for tuition.

5. A Supportive Financial Tool

Understanding all of the available financial options is key to preparing your student for college. College Ave offers tailored private student loan options to meet the needs of every family. Whether funding summer classes or looking to cover a full year of tuition, housing, books, and more, College Ave provides a simple loan application and flexible repayment plans to help you cover costs without the stress.

Their student loan calculator also helps families estimate college costs and plan their finances accordingly, ensuring that your teen can focus on their studies without the burden of financial stress.

With resources like College Ave, you can navigate the financial aspects of your child’s education with confidence. Their resources helped me plan and manage my expenses, allowing me to focus on my academic and career goals.

Avni Barman using financial tools on her phone

Make the Most of Summer With College Ave

Summer break is the best time for students to enhance their college readiness through practical experiences and financial planning. With internships, summer classes, networking, and saving money, students can lay a solid foundation for college success.

As parents, your support is crucial. With this guide, and resources like College Ave, you can ensure that your child is well-equipped to take on the exciting challenges of college life. Let this summer be a stepping stone to a bright academic future for your teen!


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