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Encourage students to make the most of summer break

Summer break is a perfect opportunity for your students to gain experience through paid or volunteer jobs, internships and other summer activities — pursuits that can also demonstrate a student's sense of responsibility to college admission officers. How can you help your students choose the most rewarding summer activities?

First, encourage students to talk to adults in their lives who can help them find activities that match their interests.

Next, share the following ideas and suggestions with your students as they begin the search for that perfect summer job or internship.

1. Follow a passion

Ask your students, "If you could do anything this summer, what would it be?" For example, a student who enjoys the outdoors and hiking could look into working at a summer camp or national park.

2. Get a taste of a future career

Advise students to experience the careers they hope to pursue. They can start by calling businesses and organizations related to their chosen field about summer jobs or internships. Professionals in any career often go out of their way to help a motivated student, so even if they're not hiring they may have suggestions.

3. Create an internship

During a job search, students may come across a potential employer — someone who inspires them or to whom they'd love to apprentice — who just can't afford to hire them. One option is to offer to work for free. The job skills gained may be worth their weight in gold.

4. Create a business

Motivated and mature students may find it rewarding to start their own small businesses. A bilingual student can advertise services as a language tutor, and a student with a green thumb can become an independent landscaper. Tell students to start lining up a few clients before the summer — and warn them that being your own boss can be hard work.

5. Think outside the box

Doing something constructive with summer vacation doesn't necessarily mean having a traditional job. Students who are really into performing or sports may want to devote their full-time energy to formally developing these skills. Encourage these students to look into special programs or summer learning programs.

6. Volunteer

Spending a summer pitching in at a local charity is a great way for students to learn about life and themselves. It can help them develop leadership skills that will last a lifetime. Students can volunteer and discover how to help others — while helping themselves.

7. Read! Read! Read!

Whatever students decide to do this summer — work, volunteer, intern or study — encourage them to read. Reading opens students' minds and introduces them to other worlds while sharpening important skills such as comprehension and vocabulary. Before school lets out, challenge them to generate a list of summer reading based on recommendations from you, teachers and parents.