Maximizing Summer Break During CollegeSummer break might be one of the most widely abused and misused advantages of being a college student.  This time off can present numerous opportunities and activities that may help a student get ahead in school, earn some much-needed money or just enjoy a much needed break.

Here are a few ideas that might help you make the most of your summer break and avoid wasting what could be quite valuable time.

Going in With a Plan

Knowing how to best utilize your time off before you get there can help you to avoid wasting this great opportunity.  Before the semester ends, consider sitting down for a couple of minutes and outlining some goals and ideas of things you might want to accomplish over the summer.  You can rank these items in order of importance and feasibility as well as put some timeframes to them to get a better sense of what you may and may not be able to get done during these months.  Doing so might also allow you to begin preparing yourself by getting a resume done if you are interested in working, picking out possible coursework if you want to take a few classes, or getting started on vacation planning if you are thinking of taking a little time off.

A Part-time Job

Getting a part-time job can be a fantastic way to earn some cash during the summer months and bolster your school finances.  While finding a position that relates in some way to your major or degree work could be a great way to combine making money with earning some great experience to put toward your future career, it isn’t always necessary or available.  Sometimes just a regular job with a regular paycheck can get you the cash you need to finance your education, and working in a simple job might take away some of the pressure that often comes with obtaining your education, letting you breathe a little over your summer break.

Prepare for the Upcoming Semester

Another way in which you might put your summer break to use is by preparing for the upcoming semester or school year.  With extra time on your hands, you may be able to do a little extra studying or reading, work on areas that you know you aren’t your strong suit, or even get a tutor lined up to assist you with difficult subject matter.  While it’s often difficult to self-learn and such efforts might not be quite as effective without a professor’s guidance, depending upon your coursework and upcoming subject matter, as well as your style of learning, working ahead to prepare yourself might give you that little extra push you need to excel — or a least succeed — in your classes.

Take Summer Classes

It you want to get ahead in your coursework, have the available time and cash, and don’t necessarily want to go it alone, you might consider taking summer courses.  While these classes are often packed into a shorter timeframe than during the regular semester, which means that they will typically require a lengthier class period, taking summer courses can be a great way to make use of your summer break and get ahead or catch up upon your studies.

A few things to consider before signing up for summer classes are the extra amount of money you may have to pay for such coursework, how they will fit into your summer schedule, and how these classes may interfere with a part-time job and vice versa. You can also consider online education which will enable you to take courses online anytime. Browse through our online degrees channel to take a look at colleges that offer online courses.

Enjoy a Break

While it might not be productive, sometimes you just need a break from it all.  Whether it’s heading back home to see family, taking a vacation with friends, heading off to a foreign land, or just laying around being lazy for a week or two, a break might be just what you needed to shrug off some of that education related stress.

While it may not be a good idea to spend your entire summer vacation lounging about in this manner, a break can provide the needed refreshment to prepare for the upcoming school year and could make you more effective and energized when the time comes.  You may also find that spending time with friends and family and meeting new people can help you build bonds and form networks that can help you further your career after school.  And remember, unless you become a school teacher, once that career begins, you’re likely not to see such long periods of down time again for many years to come.