by Emily Brehe

School’s out, but not completely.

School districts across the nation have extended spring break or moved to online instruction in an effort to prevent the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).

You may wonder how to keep your high school student academically engaged while he or she is cooped up inside. You want your teen to use this time wisely and avoid boredom. In this post, we provide a list of 10 things students can do while stuck at home.

1. Prepare for the SAT®, ACT®, or PSAT Tests

With the next test dates pushed back to June, teens have additional time to study for college admissions tests.

At KD College Prep, we have pivoted to provide online access to our effective test prep programs.

For decades, we have provided test prep instruction in an in-person, classroom environment. Now, our students can access this same effective content from a home computer. This access includes live lessons and on-demand homework explanations, practice tests reviews, and live classes taught by our experienced instructors.

During our live lessons, students can ask questions and experience the lesson like they would in a classroom.

For more information on how to get your student started with our online test prep, contact a campus near you.

2. Encourage Your Student to Learn About His or Her Interests

There comes a time when students have to choose a college major that will set them on a career path. If your student is unsure about what he or she wants to study in college, encourage him or her to work on a career exploration project during this time away from school.

Many college freshmen don’t know what to major in, making it difficult to create meaningful career connections early on in school. Deciding on a major before applying to college may help open doors for scholarships, research opportunities, student organization involvement, summer internships, and more.

For more tips, see Things to Consider When Choosing a College Major.

3. Take an Online College Tour

With COVID-19 concerns leading to campus closures nationwide, you may feel that your student has lost his or her opportunity to explore college campuses. Campus visits are a vital part of the college research stage, but fortunately, there are lots of online campus tours that you can access from home.

YouVisit.com

YouVisit.com is a website that allows you to go on interactive virtual campus tours for free.

The tours are led by a tour guide who gives you important tidbits about the notable parts of a college campus. You can also see 360-degree photos, videos, and more.

The You Visit library includes tours for many top-notch universities, including Harvard University, The Ohio State University, Johns Hopkins University, and more.

Still want to go on an in-person college tour?

If you and your student still feel the need to go on a real-life campus tour, we suggest using this tool to find out which campuses are still offering admissions tours.

4. Take an Online College Course

Many colleges, including Harvard and Yale, are offering free online courses that students can take while they have extra down time at home. For some courses, your student can even get a certificate to add to a resume or LinkedIn profile for a small additional fee.

If your student plans to attend a certain college that offers courses through Coursera or EdX, this is an ideal time to get a feel for what college courses at this school will be like.

5. Get a Head Start on College Applications

Don’t let your teen wait until senior year to start collecting materials for his or her college application. Your teen could spend this time indoors creating a college resume or asking teachers to write letters of recommendation.

Probably one of the most time consuming parts of the college admissions process is the essay. Help your student brainstorm essay topics, and remember that this is not a research essay. A good college essay gives insight to who your student is and what he or she cares about.

For more college essay tips read “How to Choose a College Essay Topic.”

6. Go on a Museum Virtual Tour

Explore famous works of art and pieces of history with your teen from the comfort of your couch. Check out these 12 museums that offer virtual tours.

7. Learn Important Life Skills

Let’s face it, your child is growing up way too fast. When he or she is away at college, you’re going to long for moments of free time that you once had together.

There are probably lots of things you plan to teach before he or she goes off to college. Take advantage of this time to teach your teen important life skills like how to prepare a meal, change a tire, do the laundry, etc.

8. Connect

Teens may get lonely during this time away from school. They probably miss the connection that is felt when seeing their friends in the hallway or lunchroom. While parents shouldn’t let teens go to house parties or gatherings, one should give them time to touch base with their friends while stuck at home.

Encourage your teen to connect with friends in a new way. Maybe he or she could write a letter to a close friend or family member. Or suggest that he or she use a video chat service (Skype, FaceTime, Google Duo, etc.) to have a face-to-face conversation.

Another way to connect during this time is to do something kind for someone. Your teen could connect with a grandparent or family member whom he or she hasn’t seen in a while. Or maybe you and your teen could create care packages for people in need.

There are countless ways to help others from the safety of your home. It will feel good to do something positive together in the midst of uncertainty.

9. Listen to a Podcast or Audiobook

No matter what interests your student, he or she is bound to find entertainment through listening to a podcast or audiobook. This form of media will give your student hands-free entertainment. It also can encourage your student to take a break from the screen.

Podcasts help satisfy the constant need for entertainment while allowing your teen to also do something productive. He or she can listen while doing chores, completing a puzzle, or working on an arts and crafts project.

For tips on getting started with podcasts, check out our list of recommended podcasts.

10. Start a Blog or YouTube Channel

Does your teen have a unique hobby or interest? Encourage your teen to start a blog or YouTube channel to share online.

With the entire nation clocking more hours online in the coming weeks, now is the perfect time to become internet famous.

Okay, maybe your teen won’t become famous, but he or she might find enjoyment in documenting life in this way.

College admissions officers will typically research who your student is online. An interesting blog or meaningful video created by your student may help him or her stand out.

Need help motivating your teen?

We offer test prep (online activities included) and college counseling programs to help your teen prepare for college. Contact a campus near you to get started.

Emily Brehe is a marketing specialist at KD College Prep.