Productive Summer Activities For High School Students

09 Jan, 2024 | Blog Articles, Get the Edge

Your final summer of high school is the perfect time to boost your CV and to cram your college and university applications with evidence of your commitment to extracurricular activities.

Here are our top ten suggestions of productive summer activities to do in high school.

1. Get an Internship

An internship or a shadowing position, while unpaid, is the perfect way to get straight to the heart of your dream career.

Whether it’s in a museum, a laboratory, with a company or a local project, start your applications early to give yourself the best chance of landing a position that will add value to your university and college admissions.

2. Volunteer

Applications for internships are competitive, but volunteering is an incredible alternative for high school students.

Get down to your local art gallery, do a beach clean-up, or offer your time at a homeless shelter. Demonstrate your passion for your community by rolling up your sleeves and getting stuck in!

3. Give Yourself a Research Project

Colleges and universities are looking for applicants with an insatiable curiosity for learning and personal initiative.

Find a topic you’ve always been interested in, or an up-and-coming area in your field which is under-researched, and head to the local library. Enjoy the opportunity to expand your knowledge outside of the curriculum with a self-taught summer project. 

4. Start an Enterprise

Any great innovator or businessman knows that the best projects and enterprises are born of a need.

Ask your neighbours what they’re lacking and get creative. This could look like:

  • Hosting a drop-in session for elderly people who struggle with their computers
  • Running coding classes for children
  • Launching a small tutoring business with your friends
  • Starting a community newsletter.

This is one of the most productive summer activities you can do, but it will also be hard work!

Group of teenagers cleaning up an estuary

5. Become an Activist

Being politically engaged is a mark of global awareness – an indicator that you’re switched on and ready to take on the world before you even become a college student. You don’t have to start a revolution overnight, but you could read the news every day to find what you’re passionate about.

If you fancy yourself as the next Greta Thunberg, you could host a clothes swap or organise a litter pick. Similarly, if you’re particularly passionate about human rights, you could fundraise for your favourite charity.

6. Get Creative

Creativity is something that employers and universities value highly. It shows you can think outside of the box, and you’re innovative and flexible in approaching challenges. Luckily, practising creativity is often free!

Are you interested in Computer Science? Make a website. Do you fancy yourself as a journalist? Start a blog and take photographs to spruce up your articles.

You could write and produce a film, direct a play, join a band or start a scratch choir. You could even learn how to do your own animations. The world is your oyster!

Student drawing on a tablet

7. Learn a New Language

Learning a new language not only proves your capacity to take on new challenges, but it also makes you an asset to any team in an increasingly global job market.

You could do it the free way with an app, do an online course, attend a class, or even organise an exchange programme with friends or family who live overseas.

If Classics, Literature, History or Theology is your bag, learning an ancient language like Latin, Old Norse or Hebrew will add a whole new dimension to your studies and give you a head start on many college courses.

8. Make an Educational Visit

There are so many fascinating places on our doorsteps that don’t charge a penny for admission. They’re there to bring your learning to life!

Head to a museum relating to your area of interest, go to a concert, visit the law courts or a local heritage site, or hit up some interesting art exhibitions.

To make your summer extra productive, you could even attend some free lectures at a nearby university. 

9. Enter a Competition

With all that time on your hands, the long summer is a great opportunity to put your abilities to the test.

Ask your teachers if they know of any award schemes or competitions in the area, and use the vacation to polish up your entry. This could be an art, poetry or writing competition, an essay award, or a debating challenge. 

10. Attend a Summer School

A summer school is an ideal option for anyone wanting to pursue their subject in depth or get a taste of life after high school.

Summer programmes are designed to inspire you and help you dream big, to broaden your horizons while narrowing your focus and sharpening your interest. You’ll also have some fun in the process, and you’re sure to make some unforgettable friends from all over the world!

Including a summer programme on your CV or personal statement proves that your commitment to learning extends outside of school hours and into your summer.

Group of summer school students, holding a signed t-shirt

With some focus, drive and a big dollop of creativity, you can transform your summer into an exciting, application-boosting few months.

It’s your final opportunity to get some achievements under your belt, so take some initiative and start planning your productive summer activities now!

Looking to take part in an Oxford summer course?

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