Freedom is just weeks away! Did we say freedom? We mean summer.

After you give yourself a week to sleep until noon, you’ll be ready to jump back into summer activities.

Because as wonderful as it sounds to spend the next three months on social media, you can (and should) make the time work for you.

We have seven ideas for making the most of your summer–and still having plenty of freedom.

    1. Volunteering

Besides the host of ideas we’ve already mentioned, here are some types of volunteering that are particularly suited to summertime.

Summer Program Volunteer. Among the dozens and dozens of summer programs for younger kids, one of them will definitely want your assistance.

Whether that’s helping for one day at a registration event, reading with a child for a week, or spending a whole month in a cabin, you can find a place to volunteer. Not sure where to start? Think of programs you liked when you were younger.

Senior Center Volunteer. Community centers, senior programming groups, and private senior homes all welcome volunteers. If you choose this route, be warned: you might learn some card games and wisdom.

Animal Shelter Volunteer. For those who love playing with and caring for animals, volunteering at an animal shelter is a perfect fit. Usually, volunteering at animal shelters is as easy as calling for a volunteer time and showing up with a willing attitude and caring spirit.

Looking for volunteer opportunities? Check out VolunteerMatch and Voly.

    2. Work

Having a job means earning money, learning responsibility, and getting outside of your comfort zone. If you are interested in getting a job, look at websites like Indeed and keep an eye out for signs at local businesses.

You can also look into working for yourself. Mowing lawns, babysitting, and dog walking can all be done without leaving your neighborhood.

    3. Internships

Summer internships are a classic way to gain independence and experience. They provide hands-on career development and build valuable connections that give interns advantages and insights into a particular career track.

Sources for internships depend on the direction of a student’s interests, but hospitals, companies, and nonprofit organizations are great starting places. Job posting websites like Indeed or Monster usually also have an internship search option.

Internships usually have application deadlines and spots fill quickly, so start looking now! If you find something interesting that isn’t available this summer, ask to be placed on the contact list for next year.

    4. Research

Research projects come in all shapes and sizes. A high school student might be able to join an established research program at a university or large high school or secure an independent study with a university professor.

Summer is also a good time to undertake independent research. Self-motivated students can spend many hours learning about something that interests them or is important to their futures.

Perhaps an aspiring physician will participate in a summer research study. Or perhaps an aspiring software designer will complete a free introductory course in a coding language.

    5. Summer Programs

Eight weeks is not a long time for mastery, but it’s just right for intensive immersion. We’re talking about summer learning programs.

From music camps to summer journalism institutes, dance camps to robotics summer programs, the opportunities to study over the summer are endless.

May we particularly suggest foreign language study? Multilingualism is highly beneficial in many social, psychological, and cognitive ways. Language immersion camps are a win for everyone.

    6. Independent Projects

Independent projects are important goals students set during the summer. If jobs, travel, or life in general keeps a teen from becoming an intern or a camp counselor, she can still have a fulfilling and productive summer.

If he’s a musician, he could focus on composing.

If she’s a coder, she could create that website.

You could fundraise for a life-changing organization.

You could self-publish the book of poetry you’ve been polishing for years.

Independent projects can also be college-related: developing a college list, researching scholarship options, or writing application essays early. A high school student with self-discipline (or a great reminder system) can grow exponentially through independent projects during the summer.

    7) Test Prep

There’s a great argument for finishing all your standardized tests by the end of your junior year of high school. It goes like this:

● Work really hard on test prep in 9th, 10th, and 11th grades.
● Take national tests at strategic times.
● Finish testing early!

Navigating the maze of tests is hard, and navigating the maze of test questions can be even harder.

The good news is that the types of questions are limited and fairly straightforward if you know how to approach them. Fortunately, there’s enough time in the summer for plenty of practice.

The even better news is that KD College Prep Directors would love to share our test prep and testing recommendations with you so you don’t get lost. Contact a campus to set up an appointment.

With so many options for such a valuable summer, the hardest part will be keeping yourself from doing all of them at once. Happy (early) summer!