College Counseling Corner: Plans for summer

Sarah Soule
Sarah Soule

by Sarah Soule

As the school year draws to a close, area students can look ahead to opportunities to spend time with friends, employment, travel, focus on athletic and artistic interests, and volunteer activities during the summer months. Often times, students do not know where to begin or how to approach an “open calendar” or job search and it can be, for some, a daunting process.

I encourage students to meet with their guidance counselor or college adviser for advice. Students at Vermont Commons, Rice, and CVU have the good fortune to have access to Naviance, an on line college counseling reference which is chock full of career information and summer offerings. Not only does Naviance list well over 4000+ colleges and universities, but it also includes thousands of summer programs, both national and international, for consideration.

For those seeking employment, Naviance allows students to create a resume. I encourage students to use this as they prepare for the college application process and hunt for jobs. The resume can then be given to teachers when they request recommendations in the fall of their senior year. A resume serves as a fine overview of a student’s accomplishments. The teacher can then incorporate these into their knowledge of the student’s academic talents when they write their ever-important recommendation.

Naviance gives students a chance to fill out a career interest profile. Based on how a student responds to specific questions, it will share a list of suggested career areas for each student to consider exploring. It goes into further detail as to information about each career with explanations about the specific field and salary ranges.

Summer is a great time for students to spend a day “shadowing” an adult mentor at their place of employment to learn more about their field. Students are encouraged to reach out to trusted adults in their lives and ask if they can learn more about their jobs and, if possible, spend a day learning about what they do.

Many local businesses hire summer employees. It takes time to find a summer job, so put your best foot forward and search for something that will fit in to your schedule. A summer job will allow for extra spending money, savings for college, and will enable a student to learn more about time management, responsibility, and setting a routine schedule.

The University of Vermont offers Summer Academy which is a special offering for talented students who seek to further their academic preparation during the summer months. Upon successful completion, students will earn college credit transferrable to other institutions or applicable to a University of Vermont degree!

Students can also contact our local United Way as they have a very helpful website that lists volunteer offerings for students aged 13-17 in a variety of areas that will appeal to any interest. It is a great way for students to give back to our local community!

Many local schools and sports and fitness centers offer summer camps for athletes as they prepare for the 2015-16 season. Some athletes serve as coaches at these camps for younger children. These are wonderful opportunities for all involved.

A final note for summer, take time to read several good books, hike to the top of your favorite mountain, enjoy the warm waters of Lake Champlain, and revel in the company of your family and friends.

Sarah Soule is the Director of College Counseling at the Vermont Commons School in South Burlington. She has over 30 years experience of working in the field of admissions and college advising. She previously worked for 20 years as a senior member of the admissions staff at Champlain College. Sarah has been quoted in the Princeton Review’s The Portable Guidance Counselor and was named Admission Counselor of the Year by the New England Association for College Admission Counseling. Sarah works individually with private clients as an educational consultant on the college admission process. She is a resident of Shelburne.