Summer is a great time for relaxing and enjoying all the outdoor activities the season has to offer. But it also presents a terrific opportunity to reinforce learning and to build skills in an environment that is different from school through new
opportunities and exploration.

After being in the classroom all year, students are typically ready for the break that summer offers, but it is easy for them to lose ground academically since they are not actively practicing what has been taught in the classroom. While this is not a new finding, the gap in learning can be detrimental particularly for high school students who need to be adept in school assignments and testing while preparing for SATs and college admission applications.

Parents can assist by seeking opportunities that provide a valuable learning experience as well as those that offer some element of leisure or fun activity that is engaging. One of the first steps is to identify what the student’s needs and interests are, and then begin to explore what is available.

Is your student getting ready to take the SAT or prepare for that all-important college entrance essay? Do they have a love of writing but haven’t had the opportunity during the school year to enhance their creative expression? Is there a
particular area of interest they would enjoy pursuing but have never taken the step to explore further? These are questions parents and their students should share as they explore potential programs.

For high school students, particularly those approaching the college admissions process, enrollment in summer programs can be enormously beneficial. Courses that are designed to help to raise the SAT score, enhance writing and research skills, or that offer college credit can provide an edge over the competition and ease the transition from high school to college.

At the same time, summer learning doesn’t mean it has to be solely academic. It’s can be an opportunity to pursue a subject or passion that is based on curiosity such as music, theater, or technology and will help the student to become well rounded and discover a talent or interest they may have been unaware of.

The following checklist can help to assist parents and students when selecting a summer academic and enrichment learning program:

  • Does the academic content of the course meet the goals and objectives of both parent and student?
  • Does the organization offering the course have a credible and reliable reputation?
  • What are the credentials and expertise of the instructors?
  • Are the facilities and equipment conducive to productive learning?
  • Does the program contain a balance of academics as well as engaging leisure activities?
  • Is there a sufficient amount of downtime for socialization between students to enhance building of new relationships?

Choosing the right program can bring summer learning alive, provide fun and enrichment, and offer educational opportunities that set the stage for future academics and personal enrichment.