Wednesday’s Parent: The surprise on a college-bound summer to-do list

Summer. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

Summer. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

The first and most important thing on a college-bound summer to-do list may be done while lying in a hammock or walking on the beach. It is best done when thoroughly relaxed. It may take hours. It may speed up completing everything else on the list. Sounds like a perfect summer activity, right?

(While students are busy with their list, parents may focus on their own with these classic 7 summer to dos for parents of college-bound.)

Form a college-bound summer to-do list now. Before those lazy hazy longest days of the year seem to fly by faster than a short winter’s day, take a moment to form a summer to-do list. That way parents and their college-bound students will see a set of goals to achieve and figure out when to accomplish them prior to the start of the next school year. Avoid the frustration of procrastination while still in work mode or you may be trying to squeeze in two months worth of activities into the last weekend before classes begin again.

The first thing on the college-bound summer to-do list is a surprise. Shakespeare phrased it best in Hamlet Act 1, scene 3, 78:

“to thine own self be true”

Most teens don’t really know who they are or what they want. Summer is a great time for introspection. Thinking about this quietly, analyzing their own talents, skills and abilities, likes and dislikes, aptitudes and short-comings will help them figure out what they want college to do for them. It will also narrow the fields of study they want to learn more about and those they need help with now.

There are many choices to add to the college-bound summer to-do list. There are two categories of activities for teens over the summer. One concerns health and the other academics. Students may search extracurricular, job and school opportunities to pursue what they want.

Health As teens grow toward adulthood, they assume more responsibility for their own health. Summer is a great time for them to take steps towards a healthier lifestyle. They may think about the best ways for them to incorporate adequate rest, good food and proper exercise into their busy schedules. They may also think about how to best avoid acquiring unhealthy habits or ditching negative patterns.

Honing soft skills will help the college-bound reduce stress in college and beyond. Collaboration, communication, problem solving, time management and leadership will help teens adapt and thrive in new social, academic and business situations.

Students may also start to address financial health issues and learn more about money management and budgeting. They should understand the concept of affordability and be prepared for a college cost talk with their parents.

Academics When teens have a better understanding of who they are and what they want it is easier for them to select activities that will help or interest them. The emphasis is on general improvement, discovery and enjoyment of learning experiences. Having fun gaining knowledge and satisfaction with mastering new concepts sets the college-bound up for future success.

Some things to-do include: Reading, taking a summer course, volunteering, creating from blogs to building something, finding a mentor, joining a professional association or club, doing an internship or job, gaining skills, preparing a resume, narrowing down a college list, visiting colleges on a collegecation, working on vocabulary, writing a college essay and application, and choosing a major.

Read Suzanne’s post: 5 Things a College-Bound Teen Should NOT Do This Summer


The #CampusChat on Wednesday, June 25, 9pm ET/6pm PT addresses summer activities for college-bound students and how parents may help. Join Suzanne (@suzanneshaffer) and me (@pocsmom) as we host our monthly #WednesdaysParent with guest Ashley Hill @prepforcollege owner of College Prep Ready. Ashley is a College Success Coach and Scholarship Search Strategist.

If you missed the chat or want to reread the excellent tips and advice, click here. ____________________________________

Wednesday’s child may be full of woe but Wednesday’s Parent can substitute action for anxiety. Each Wednesday Suzanne Shaffer and I will provide parent tips to get and keep your student on the college track. It’s never too late or too early to start!

The bonus is on the fourth Wednesday of each month when Suzanne and I will host Twitter chat #CampusChat at 9pm ET/6pm PT. We will feature an expert on a topic of interest for parents of the college-bound.

Wednesday’s Parent will give twice the info and double the blog posts on critical parenting issues by clicking on the link at the end of the article from to and vice versa.

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