Students are starting to look forward to the summer as a well-deserved break from the academic and extra-curricular demands they juggle during the school year.  Summer is a good time for a few Rs:  relaxation, recreation, review, and resume building.

Relaxation and rest are essential ingredients for physical and mental health, and should be part of daily life, not just during the summer.  Besides reducing stress, down time can increase creativity, critical thinking skills, and the ability to concentrate and problem-solve.  Ensure your students have plenty of free days during the summer to recharge their batteries.

Summer recreation options are endless.  There is more time to hang with friends, to enjoy hobbies, and to be physically active. Recreation rejuvenates.

Resume building may not land high on a student’s list of summer activities, but doing so can be  fun while providing new skills and potentially opening future opportunities.  For example:

Summer jobs teach students to be responsible and to practice good work ethics, communication, and team playing skills.  They gain transferrable and job-specific skills while earning pocket money.  If students cannot find a job, they can start their own business by providing services in their neighborhood such as lawn, pet, plant, child, or house care.

Internships, whether paid or unpaid, are a great way to learn while working.  Students can “try out” a career field, while building their network, skills, and resume.

Community service provides students the same benefits as jobs/internships plus the added satisfaction of giving back to the community or to a cause that is important to them.

At summer school, camps, or summer programs offered at colleges, high school students can concentrate on an activity, sport, or academic subject to increase skills and knowledge.  At the same time, they may make new friends, gain experience being away from home, and may earn high school or college credits.  Besides resume building, these pursuits can confirm interests or lead to new discoveries and paths.

It is important to keep the three regular Rs—reading, writing, and arithmetic—sharp during the summer.  Summer is a good time to read for pleasure, to journal, to write, or to compose poetry.  Taking time to practice math will help combat summer learning loss, a real phenomenon that results in a loss of about two months of grade level equivalency in mathematical computation skills.  ACT/SAT test prep and practice is an excellent way to maintain or build skills while working toward higher scores.

During the summer, college-bound seniors can work on college essays, applications, and letter of recommendation requests.  This will reduce stress and deadline pressure during the busy school year, and give students more time to review and revise their personal statements.

Even though the list of resume building activities seems long, with a little planning it can all happen.   Rest assured, there should still be time to hang with friends and enjoy the long days of summer.

Ferah Aziz is a college coach with launchphase2. Visit www. launchphase2.com/ or call 720-340-8111 to learn more about coaching for college bound students, and success coaching for college students. P. Carol Jones is the author of “Toward College Success: Is Your Teenager Ready, Willing, and Able.” Visit www.towardcollegesuccess.com to read excerpts and to follow her blog.