Summer plans have been thrown into disarray by the virus and it’s probably harder than usual to find a job, but there’s still a lot you can do to keep busy and explore or deepen your interests.
Volunteer in Your Community
Volunteer with an existing organization or Identify a need in your community and see if you can figure out a way to meet it. Under our current pandemic circumstances, even more assistance is needed than before. Search for opportunities on Idealist.org and check out this article for ideas: 9 Ways to Help Others During the Coronavirus Pandemic.
Do an Independent Study or Research Project
An independent study is a self-directed study or research project that allows you to delve deeper into a subject that interests you. You will need to design the project’s structure and set learning objectives. Normally, you would do this under the guidance of a teacher and for credit during the school year, but don’t let that stop you if you have a good idea. Document your work on a blog or website so you’ll have something to show for it.
Explore Your Creativity
Whether you like to draw, paint, photograph, write, sculpt, film, woodwork, sew, perform, or do any other form of art, summer is a great time to dedicate yourself to it more fully.
- Open an Etsy shop to sell crafts and donate the proceeds to a cause you care about.
- Start a band, improv, or a cappella group – or focus more fully on the one you’re already in.
- Make short artistic or educational films and post them on YouTube or Vimeo.
- Write poetry, a novel, nonfiction, essays, short stories, book/movie reviews and submit them to journals.
- Create a website portfolio or blog to showcase your art.
Learn to Play an Instrument Online
If you have access to an instrument, or want to invest in one, you can start from scratch or expand your repertoire with online lessons and sheet music.
- Free Drum Lessons
- Virtual Drumming
- Ultimate Guitar
- Justin Guitar
- Zebra Keys
Learn a New Language
Take an Online University Course for Academic Credit
- BU High School Honors Online
- Carnegie Mellon Precollege Summer Program
- Cornell University Precollege Studies
- Georgetown College Credit Courses
- Penn Summer
- Rutgers Summer Scholars Program
- UCLA Summer College Immersion Program (SCIP)
Take an Extra AP Course for Credit
Consider taking a course not offered at your high school or one you couldn’t fit into your schedule.
Take a Free Online Class
Take courses, build skills, earn certificates:
Learn to Code for Free
There are lots of places to learn how to code online – find the one that works best for you.
- Code Academy
- Code Conquest
- Free Code Camp
- GA Dash (learn to code websites)
- Google Android Training
- The Code Player
- Pluralsight Code School
- The Odin Project (coding for web development)
- Web Fundamentals
- Tuts Plus
- After Hours Programming
- Code Avengers (learn to build websites, apps, games, and more)
Find an Internship or Shadowing Opportunity
The best way to find an internship is often through your personal connections (parents, family friends, friends’ families, school counselors, etc.). However, don’t be afraid to reach out to companies you’re interested in to ask if they offer a program for high school students or if they are willing to let you informally shadow an employee on the job.
Get a Job or Be Entrepreneurial
Unfortunately, it’s probably difficult to find a job at this time of mass unemployment. However, it’s worth mentioning (if you’ve had or currently have a job) that colleges like it when students have jobs, because work experience demonstrates initiative and responsibility. But if you have a fantastic business idea – whether it’s giving music lessons to kids, offering web design or other technical services in your neighborhood, creating a new app, or pet-sitting – summer is a great time to get it off of the ground.
Participate in a Virtual Summer Program
Some summer programs are designing online curricula as an alternative to their on-campus programs. Others have not yet cancelled, so it’s important to keep checking the websites of programs you’re interested in.