Productive Summer Activities For High School Students

Dec 13, 2019Blog 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.

We hope this helps you make it an extraordinary vacation.


1. Get an internship

An internship or a shadowing position, whilst 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 just as amazing as an 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!

summer research project student

3. Give yourself a research project

Colleges and universities are looking for applicants with an insatiable curiosity for learning and personal initiative. So 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. Host drop-in sessions for elderly people who struggle with their computers. Run coding classes for kids. Launch a small tutoring business with your friends. Start a community newsletter. This is one of the most productive summer activities you can do, but it will also be hard work!


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 find out what fires you up by reading the news every day. If you fancy yourself as the next Greta Thunberg, you could host a clothes swap or organise a litter pick. Or if you’re particularly passionate about human rights, you could fundraise for your favourite charity.


productive summer activities

6. Get creative

Creativity is something that all employers and universities value highly. It shows that you can think outside of the box, that you’re innovative and that you’re flexible in approaching any challenges that may arise. And luckily, practicing creativity is often free. Interested in Computer Science? Make a website. 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!


7. Learn a new language

Learning a new language not only proves your capacity to take on new challenges but makes you an asset to any team, as the worlds of Business, Tech and Law become increasingly international. 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. Or 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 are 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. 

productive summer activities

9. Enter a competition

With all that time on your hands, the long summer before junior year 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, debating or Model United Nations challenge. 


10. Attend a summer school

Summer schools come in a lot of different shapes and sizes, but ultimately they’re an ideal option for anyone wanting to pursue their subject in depth or to get a taste of life after high school. They’re designed to inspire you and to help you to dream big, to broaden your horizon whilst narrowing your focus and sharpening your interest. You’ll also have some fun whilst doing it and you are sure to make some unforgettable friends from all over the world. Having a summer programme on your CV or personal statement proves that your commitment to learning extends outside of school hours and into your summer.

At Oxford Scholastica’s Summer School you’ll find a broad range of summer courses in Oxford, giving you the perfect opportunity to do all of the above and more! 



With some focus, drive and a big dollop of creativity, you can transform your final summer of high school 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!


Next steps

  • Ask your teachers about any existing summer programmes, internships or awards schemes
  • Different countries advertise their volunteering opportunities differently so find out where you need to go to get involved with some amazing local projects (US and UK)
  • Watch this video for more ideas of productive summer activities to make the most of your summer

Ready for the most memorable summer of your life?

Check out our summer courses!