Remember: Keep a journal while you do your internship and record all of your learning, regardless of how small they may seem to be. When you are done, it can be helpful to look over everything to articulate what you learned and how this has changed your perspective. Try to produce something through the internship, something that you can claim as a particular tangible outcome. If there is a possibility to continue some work after your internship, or return to the same company, this will show some consistency and looks good.
INDEPENDENT PROJECTS OR RESEARCH
Students can also use this time in the summer to pursue independent research. Research is particularly desired if you are aiming for science or engineering in college, but also good if your intended major is in Business/Economic or even the Social Sciences. If possible, see if you can connect with a professor at a local university who can act as your mentor. This person can help you establish the scope of your research, be a sounding board to your process and give you valuable advice that can help with your planning. Furthermore, this mentor can be useful in reviewing your final paper, suggesting changes and formatting, and may even be able to suggest potential publications where you could submit and possibly get published. As with an internship, it is good to keep a journal and note your learning as you complete the research.
Some of my students in the past have also done independent projects, such as starting a small business, applying science to a tangible product (invention), doing a small micro-finance cycle, writing a short novel, starting a blog, developing applications, initiating a charitable organization, etc. Whatever you do though, it should have a personal connection to you. Don’t do things purely for the application, always ask yourself: Why is this important to me?
SAT/ACT PREP, COLLEGE ESSAYS AND INDEPENDENT READING
Admittedly, not the most exciting point in this entry, but I would be remiss if I did not point out that with this extra time in the summer, working on these areas is a good idea. SAT/ACT prep requires many full length tests and then thorough analysis of the questions that you get wrong, which means that you need 4-hour blocks of time to do the tests, and 2-hour blocks of time to review. This is pretty hard during your regular school year, so the summer should be taken advantage of. For 10th graders going to 11th grade, the best time to take these exams is first time in October or November and second time in January of your 11th grade year, so it is not that far away. For 11th to 12th graders, if you still need to do your testing, you really need to prepare in the summer because your fall will be filled with college essays and course-required submissions.