If time is money, your college student’s summer vacation is valuable, even if it’s spent sleeping in or working a part-time retail job. Consider the following tips to ensure that your student’s break is productive and well-spent:
Advise your student to go back through all of her notes, tests, textbooks and important class materials at the beginning of summer, while the information is still fresh in her mind. By organizing schoolwork now that she’ll need down the road, she’ll save herself time and frustration – and avoid a messy pile of loose papers and notebooks that will lose meaning as time passes. By making a list now of supplies and materials she needs at the beginning of the next semester, your student will feel more prepared and ready to jump back into classes in the fall. Also, it’s never too early to start scouring used textbook sites, like textbooksRus.com, Alibris.com and AbeBooks.com, if your student knows what textbooks she’ll need.
Even if your student didn’t land a summer internship, that doesn’t mean she has no opportunity for professional development. Encourage her to contact family friends or relatives – or even cold call local businesses – who are in the line of work she’s pursuing. They might have an opportunity for her to shadow a professional for a day, learning the ins and outs of the job and industry. Also, many associations and network groups get together regularly and welcome college students to attend their meetings.
If your student isn’t taking summer classes, her textbooks will likely be closed until she receives the next round of syllabi. And if your student is taking summer classes, extra reading is probably the last thing on her list of to-dos. But reading for pleasure and personal growth can be a productive way to spend free time. Whether it’s a self-help book or a novel, reading can help broaden your student’s perspectives and get the creative juices flowing.
For students who move back home during the summer, cutting down on living expenses is a great motivation to start saving and refining the budget. Help your student analyze her finances and the upcoming costs for next year. Students who have paid internships or jobs should decide early on to save a portion of all income, and parents can help form a plan to allocate the rest of their money.
Rest and relaxation is as important as anything else this summer. Make sure your student has time to spend with friends and unwind from the school year. Learning to make time for work and play can be a challenging balance, and summertime is a good reminder that we need time off if we want to be efficient and diligent when it’s time to work. Consider taking a family vacation to reconnect with your student and help her – and you – prepare for next year.