As school begins to slow to a stop, it seems the only thing we have left might be finals. You’re probably ready to spend your summer chilling and being happy. Netflix marathons and midnight snacking. Truth is, there are plenty of other ways for you to fulfill those two months and not regret it later.
There’s a good chance that if you’re reading this, you might already volunteer somewhere, and plan to help at the same place over the summer. Some volunteer opportunities, however, are limited to the summer, and I’ll mention some of those below. Others are year-round, and getting into them in the summer will create a routine for you.
- VA Hospital - the Veterans Affairs Hospitals are spread out across the U.S., and there is most likely one near you. The hospitals offer a Student Volunteer program over the summer, and it’s something really great to be into. There are lots of ways you may help, and I strongly encourage you to check it out. http://www.volunteer.va.gov/StudentProgram.asp
- Nature Center - there are a fair amount of nature centers, especially in the northern states, most of which offer and thrive on volunteering. See if you can find one near you, and look into the different things you may be able to help out with. Some nature centers and preserves offer summer camps for younger children, and may be seeking out counselors to help with the camp.
- Medical Centers - although the VA hospital was already mentioned, if there isn’t one near you, then researching what other medical centers offer may help you find something you enjoy. I know a lot of hospitals and such that offer youth volunteer programs, as well.
- Boys and Girls Club - this organization is really astounding, and volunteering here will leave you with a great feeling, especially if you love children. This is a great opportunity to make a difference in the lives of children, and they’ll come to know you. http://www.bgca.org/
- Volunteer Abroad - if you’re looking for a way to have fun this summer, meet new people, and experience new things, all while making an impact, this option is great for you. There are a lot of programs you can attend that take place in other countries, and different focuses you can volunteer in, like children, health, or nature. However, the programs to cost a hefty amount of money. https://www.experiencegla.com http://www.goeco.org/ http://www.crossculturalsolutions.org/
- Dual Enrollment - if you don’t normally do dual enrollment throughout the school year, either because of conflicting schedules or you just choose not to, the summer is an excellent time to involve yourself with it. A lot of colleges offer dual enrollment over the summer. Choose something you’ll enjoy, because there’s no point of wasting your summer with something you dread. I encourage you to look into your local community college before the big-name universities you may have nearby.
- Pre-College Programs - a TON of great colleges offer pre-college programs, although they cost a large amount of money, depending on the college. Both residential and commuter programs are usually offered. The great thing about these programs is that a lot of options are given. I see this as a great way to test out if you like a certain subject or major before committing to it. Hundreds are offered across the United States, but here are a few examples. http://www.brown.edu/academics/pre-college/ http://precollege.emory.edu/ http://www.cushing.org/Page/Summer/Academics/College-Prep
- SAT Prep - summer is also a good time to study for upcoming tests, like the SAT or ACT. It’s important to take advantage of the time you have when you’re not weighted down with your regular classes. Try to see if there are any test prep classes or programs offered near you.