By Tim Martin | July 13, 2023, at 10:00 a.m.

When colleges evaluate a high school transcript, they look for evidence of proper academic planning and measure academic achievement. It is also critical that students demonstrate additional qualities of character through various activities and experiences during their high school years.

You may immediately think of sports, music groups, school clubs, community organizations, or a career as the key elements on your resume. There are also some creative and insightful ways to maximize your time and enhance your background to add to your resume that focuses on exploration and experiences.

According to the Princeton Review, “High school student resumes give colleges a snapshot of your accomplishments, extracurriculars, hobbies, and work history. They can also be a useful tool for preparing for a college interview or to give to the teachers who are writing your letters of recommendation.” 

When the final bell rings, signaling the start of the summer vacation and a break from the regular school routine, students manage this time off in many ways. Vacations are lovely, as is sleeping in on a random Tuesday morning. But why not make good use of your time by researching potential careers?

After researching local resources with family, friends, and counselors, consider the following options:

Pre-College Summer ProgramHigh school students taking a summer immersion program in business at a university.

Colleges and universities often offer summer immersion programs in which students can take courses and focus on specific areas while experiencing college life.

Topics range from STEAM to business, literature, and anything linked to various careers.

While many of these residential programs charge for courses, food, and housing, you may also find community groups or local schools offering day programs in your area.

A high school student is job shadowing a physician for a day to view the doctor's daily tasks and routines.Job Shadow

Most individuals are happy to talk about their jobs, especially what they had to do to get their dream job. Begin with family members, then expand your network.

When you find someone in your field of interest, contact them and ask if you can shadow them for a day to view their daily tasks and routines.

Students may realize that the life of a physician is very different from what is shown on television, which may result in a career change or energizes a newfound appreciation and motivation to learn more.

Not only will you learn more about the work, but you may also plant the seeds for a possible career or internship!

Internship for High School StudentsA high school intern on his first day participating in and exploring business management.

Depending on your schedule, internships can offer you the opportunity to become a member of an organization and receive responsibilities and experiences over a certain period.

Some internships are only a week-long, while others are much longer.

You would receive some training and supervision for your assigned role. You are required to be on time and complete your work regularly.

This employment is unlikely to pay much, but the value comes from the future references, resources, and experiences you gain.

Taking Summer ClassesA high school student is taking summer classes in computer science in order to go ahead in his class.

Many students spend the summer concentrating on the most demanding or time-consuming subjects.

Students gain from using school and college resources to catch up or get ahead in a particular subject without the clutter of several classes and activities during the school year.

Taking a summer school class should not be seen as a negative thing, but rather as a mature approach to academic planning and success!

Volunteer ProgramsVolunteering in a nursing home is a great opportunity for high school students to demonstrate that they are involved in their community.

Volunteering for a local community organization can be fun! Maybe you can assist Habitat for Humanity, help with a 5K race, or maintain a local community garden.

Community service should be done from the heart, not just to fulfill your National Honors Society requirements.

Being an active member of your community and eager to help improve your city, town, community, or neighborhood can give you a network of people who will appreciate your contributions all year!

Summer break is a wonderful time while you are in high school. Most college students are likely to be busy in classes or college-sponsored events throughout June and July, so their summer experiences change.

Get the rest you need, but also take time to explore, learn, and grow. Free time is a valuable resource, so make good use of it while you have it!

A resume builder to help high school students track their activities and hours.