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4 Ways Teens Can Use Summer Vacation for Self-DiscoveryThursday, July 3, 2014
These activities allow high schoolers to explore possible careers and can enhance a student’s college application, education experts say.
For most teens, having fun is the main item on the agenda for summer vacation, not learning. But summer can be a great time for high school students to explore different interests and careers, as well as prepare for the college admissions process.
“It can be a really important time of self-discovery,” says Stephanie Diozzi, a guidance counselor at Burlington High School in Massachusetts. Not all high school students know what they want to study in college, she says, so they can use the summer to cultivate interests in a low-stress manner.
These four activities can allow students to develop those new interests and skills, whether they are spending the summer at grandma’s house or in their hometown. Plus, students can include these experiences on their college applications.
1. Participate in an educational camp or college program: Many colleges, museums and other organizations offer summer learning opportunities for high school students, Diozzi says.
Highly ranked schools such as Yale University and Stanford University offer summer programs for high school students, as do civic organizations such as the Rotary Club. Summer programs can be great way for students to explore possible majors or areas of interest, Diozzi says. Many offer financial aid and scholarships for students who want to attend, and students shouldn’t rule out these programs even if the enrollment period has ended.
“Call to see if there are any last-minute cancellations. Sometimes families’ plans change and they have to bow out of a program,” she says.
2. Get a summer job: Students shouldn’t underestimate the importance of small jobs, Diozzi says.
While it may be challenging for a 14- or 15-year-old to find a formal job, odd jobs like mowing an elderly neighbor’s lawn are seen in a very positive light by college admissions officers, she says. “It shows that the student has initiative and that they’ve taken on a responsible role in their community to the best of their ability,” she says.
3. Visit colleges, near and far: Even a 10-minute drive through a college near a family’s vacation destination will allow teens to get a feel for different types of schools, Diozzi says.
A visit to a school that a teen has no initial interest in may have unexpected results too, says Frances Kweller, founder and CEO of Kweller Prep, a New York-based company that offers test prep and college admissions advice. “You never know if there is something there that may appeal to you that you definitely now want in a college,” she says.
4. Job shadow: Observing someone in a field of interest can help students determine if their intended career path is for them, Diozzi says.
She has seen the power of job shadowing in action. One student shadowed a nutritionist for a day and discovered her passion for nutrition. She says the student has committed to go to college to study nutrition and has signed up for other enrichment opportunities. “Just that one day spent in the field really made a huge difference and gave her a really strong focus,” Diozzi says.
Above all else, students should use the summer to re-energize and explore activities that they may not have time for during the school year, Diozzi says. And it doesn’t hurt to talk to the experts.
“We’re biased, but they should definitely talk to their guidance counselor and they could certainly help point them in the right direction,” says Joe Attubato, the guidance director at Burlington High School.
Six Things Female Entrepreneurs Must Know Before They Start That StartupSunday, June 15, 2014
Frances Kweller, CEO of Kweller Prep, a learning incubator specializing in advanced test preparation in Queens, New York, founded Kweller Prep after receiving her law degree from Hofstra Law School. She offers the following tips to women embarking on their first business venture:1. – Most women suffer from what I call “analysis paralysis”, which means they analyze the situation over and over again and then never take action. They have plans to do something, but don’t execute. Don’t spend time over-processing everything and take action immediately before you get cold feet.
1. Execute Immediately – Most women suffer from what I call “analysis paralysis”, which means they analyze the situation over and over again and then never take action. They have plans to do something, but don’t execute. Don’t spend time over-processing everything and take action immediately before you get cold feet.
2. Don’t Let the Math Scare You – If you’re like me, you didn’t take a lot of math in school and numbers make you want to run the other way. As women, we don’t want to look at a portfolio or profit-and-loss statement because many of us don’t understand the math. Take a class at a community college, spend quality time with your accountant, CPA and banker and understand how business loans work because you will need this information in the future.
3. Be Direct About What You Want – You need to be able to pitch what you want in 3 minutes or less. Learn not to be soft and get to the point to get what you want. Women tend to go in circles and are afraid of saying what they want. Being able to say what you want and what you are looking for is critical to your success.
4. Trust Your Gut – Many people will tell you that you cannot do something or that your idea is a bad one. If your instincts are telling you that they’re wrong and you’re right, trust your instincts. When they say “no,” move on from it and beware of all the free advice.
5. Stay Away from Business Partners – Particularly in your first business venture, a business partner is not only not necessary but an unwelcome headache. Your first venture comes with enormous learning curves and mistakes you need to make alone. You need to listen to your instincts and have clarity of mind to do so, unclouded by another party in the way.
6. Get Support – Join a women’s group, while reading up on building a business and about other women entrepreneurs to garner the support you need while building your business. Surrounding yourself with other female entrepreneurs will only help you on your journey in discovery and with a solid foundation while building your own leadership skills too.