Summer break is just around the corner for many students. Some college students use their summer vacation to relax, while others take the opportunity to get ahead. Whatever their preference, share these tips with your students for getting the most out of their summer.

Summer classes

In high school, the thought of “summer school” may sound like some sort of punishment. But in college, summer classes is a great opportunity to get ahead or catch up if you’ve fallen behind. Summer classes are also generally much smaller in class sizes, which means more opportunity for interaction with faculty and peers.

But there’s no reason to stop at your school’s classes. Summer is also the perfect time to try your hand at learning a useful skill online–like coding. Other ways to keep your brain in learning mode include summer reading books in your field or attending a local lecture.


Participating in charity work allows students to see the impact that their hard work has on their own community or the under-served communities near and far. Particularly for college students with limited work experience, volunteer work on a resume can help them stand out from the crowd. Volunteer work can also help build skills such as leadership, public speaking, and group work, which can be applied in the classroom as well as in the workforce.


Finding a job after graduation is no walk in the park, so take any advantage you can find to gain work experience early on. Summer internships also offer a definite advantage when it comes to your career search after college. While finding summer employment can be tricky, it’s possible to find a beneficial summer job or summer internship that you’ll enjoy.

For more ideas, review this post from CengageBrain:”Top 5 summer jobs for your major you’ll actually enjoy, plus their special perks!


Finals week in college means crunch time. This often leads to poor sleep, eating, and overall health habits. However, health and fitness are essential to your overall sense of well-being. Summer may be just the opportunity to get your personal health back into shape.

Use your increased spare time to try some new, healthy recipes. And be sure to find time for physical activity, such as biking to your summer job or classes, or taking a few group fitness classes a week.


For those who have worked so hard for so long, you need a real break, prepare yourself for a vacation! Or if you’re someone who likes to get the most out of travel, consider studying abroad as a way to continue your education, learn about an unfamiliar culture, and explore a new region. Check out CengageBrain‘s blog post, “Planning to travel abroad? The strong dollar will get you far this summer” for tips.

Or if you’re staying close to home this summer, you should consider planning a “staycation” celebration with your friends who will also be staying in town. Plan a fun camping trip or a hiking adventure for very little cost.

What advice do you have for college students looking to get ahead over the summer? Share your ideas below.