DEC 20, 2016
Just like you, Sylvan Learning of the Rio Grande Valley is excited about the winter break. We know that high school students have been working hard for the last few months and that the road ahead is sure to have some challenges.
After a semester of rigorous classes, homework, extracurricular activities, responsibilities, and friends, students can definitely use a little rest. However, we don’t want to let the opportunities provided by this free time pass them by either. So instead of letting the winter break turn into a binge of television shows and late mornings, use the extra time to get ahead.
Taking the time to do something that looks good on a college application is infinitely better than watching the entire “Game of Thrones” series. We’re pretty confident your teen will be thankful after getting into the college of their dreams, so consider these following 7 things high school students can do during the winter break.
- Studying for the SAT and ACT. Without the responsibility of daily homework, students will likely have a considerable amount of free time to focus on other academic endeavors. The winter break is the perfect opportunity to study for these two very important college entrance exams. Spending a little time focused on studying each day can greatly improve their scores (and opportunities to get a scholarship).
- Speaking of scholarships. The scholarship process can take a substantial amount of time to complete. From searching for viable opportunities to filling out the applications and completing the essays, there are quite a few steps to get from A to Z. Have your teen use the winter break to get started on scholarship applications. Consider using websites like Scholarships.com to help them find the right options.
- Spend some time volunteering. Rather than sleeping the winter break away, have your teen spend some time clocking in community service hours. Volunteering will give them a purpose, teach them valuable soft skills, let them give back to the local community, and improve their college applications and resumes. Community service is especially beneficial when done in an area of the student’s interest. Consider the public library, hospital, a community center, nursing home, animal shelter, or church/synagogue as good places to start.
- Have an adventure. While your teen will surely appreciate a good day’s rest, they will probably also catch cabin fever after a few days, so take advantage of their desire to get out of the house and have an educational adventure with them. Consider visiting local museums, historic sites, state parks, national wildlife refuges, or – specifically for Rio Grande Valley residents – take a trip down to South Padre Island and spend a day at the Dolphin Research and Sea Life Nature Center. These educational trips work best when tied in with something your child is studying school or is interested in possible studying in college.If an actual trip doesn’t seem feasible, then consider virtual trips, like those offered by The American Museum of Natural History or the Smithsonian Institution. These virtual field trips can still give your teen a close-up view of popular destinations from around the world.
- Winter break internships. A short-term internship is a great opportunity to explore future careers. Allow your teen the opportunity to spend time shadowing someone in a field or career of interest so that they can experience a day-in-the-life.
- Visit colleges. Just like our educational adventures, a college visit can give your teen the opportunity to explore and learn about the college environment. While they may not get the full flavor because students will be on break too, there’s still the chance for them to see how college life will be. Don’t fret if you can’t make take a trip though. A growing number of campuses offer virtual tours, just type in “virtual college tour” into Google and have some fun.
- Relax a little. After all those (virtual) college tours, winter break internships, filling out scholarships, and studying for college entrance exams, it’s safe to say a bit of down time is permissible. Just like adults, students will need some time to relax and recharge their battery. Don’t be a Grinch and give them the opportunity to enjoy a carefree day (or two).
Sylvan Learning Center of the Rio Grande Valley wishes you a great winter break.
While the winter break is definitely a time for family, friends, presents, and relaxation, it also offers high school students some free time to get ahead of the game.
Also, consider participating in our STEM Camp to beat that holiday freeze. Contact any of our offices in McAllen, Harlingen, or Brownsville to find out more about all the fun camps we’ll be having this season.
All of us at Sylvan Learning hope you have a wonderful holiday season!