Every May or June, Summer Break arrives with celebration and relief for students after a rigorous school year. Still, it is debated whether summer learning loss is a reason to instill shorter summer breaks or if overall burnout and stress necessitate time off from structured academics. College applications, AP exams, rigorous course schedules, the ACT, the SAT, and more academic pressures make the summer months off from the standard school schedule a fantastic opportunity to catch up, get ahead, and set oneself up for success.
There are several benefits of summer vacation. Some are more obvious than others (namely, that everyone appreciates the free time and sunshine), while other pros may surprise you. Here is a detailed list of some great benefits of summer break.
PRO: Rest From The Busy Schedule Of The School Year And Time To Recharge
One key benefit of taking a break from school throughout the summer months is time to rest. With the busy schedule throughout the school year, students may often only have time for their schoolwork and academic pursuits. It is important to turn your focus to your passions, extracurriculars, and rest while it is available in the summer months. A less demanding schedule allows students to make decisions for themselves and explore their interests without being assigned research or homework. Students are often encouraged to lean into their creativity during the months off to learn about themselves and the world around them.
PRO: Time To Study For SAT And ACT Exams
Another benefit of summer vacation is free time to study for the SAT and / or ACT. Throughout the school year, you will have to balance test prep with the rest of your schoolwork. In the summer months students can dedicate their time to studying each skill tested on the SAT and ACT exams. These exams cover extensive topics of knowledge and skillsets. Some of these topics are taught early in freshman and sophomore years; review will be necessary to succeed in your SAT and ACT exams.
Some students underestimate the amount of time it will take to reach their goal scores. Take advantage of the time away from your classes to develop strong test-taking strategies, improve your weak points throughout the exam, and gain confidence before your official test days.
PRO: Time To Work And Save Money For College
College is a major financial investment, and the summer months throughout your high school years can be a great time to get jobs to build up your savings. Students may consider how to utilize their free time in high school to minimize financial stress in the future.
PRO: Time to Prepare For The Upcoming School Year
During summer break, some students choose to study and prepare for their classes in the upcoming fall semester. Heavy course loads, busy schedules, ACT exams, SAT exams, college applications, and more will occur simultaneously in the fall semester. Some students go beyond completing the assigned summer reading and spend time in the summer building up their foundational skills for AP classes and honors courses. A benefit of summer break is the opportunity to focus on upcoming curricula before the stress of the school year takes over.
PRO: Time To Take Summer School Courses
Another pro of summer break is the opportunity to get ahead of your peers by taking summer school classes. Some students use their time off in the summer months to catch up or improve their Grade Point Average (GPA). Others will take summer classes to make a memorable first impression on college admissions counselors with competitive course schedules. If you want your college application to stand out, you may consider how extra academic effort in the summer sets you apart from other applicants.
PRO: Time For Internships To Boost Your Resume And College Application
If summer school is not of interest, some students will utilize their summer break for an internship in their field of choice. Internships are a great way to decipher which majors or minors may be right for you. Taking a summer internship is also a great way to improve your resume and boost the impact of your college applications. Gaining experience in your potential career field is one of the great benefits of time away from the standard school year.
PRO: Time For Social Skills To Develop
Another important pro of summer break is the chance to dedicate time to your social life. Avoid burnout and spend time with friends! Failing to foster social skills and build connections in your personal life will impact your confidence. It is also a crucial time to focus on your mental health by seeking the things that make you happy. A student whose mental health is negatively impacted by academic pressure and stress will typically find their grades suffer. To reach one’s full academic potential, the summer months are a necessary time to focus on mental health and social skills.
While the summer months offer time for relaxation and opportunities to get ahead, there are a few cons to consider. Keep in mind that students can balance out these negatives by considering the opportunities listed above.
CON: Forgetting What You Have Learned
One negative of summer vacation is the potential to forget the skills you have learned throughout the school year. Without a consistent application of the skills you have developed, you may lose them. Students cannot be expected to retain 100% of the information they have learned in the school year, but the summer months are likely to result in summer learning loss.
CON: Study Habits Dwindle And Are Hard To Rebuild
Another con of summer break is the loss of study habits. After the summer break, motivation, endurance, and focus are difficult to rebuild. Throughout the summer, students find themselves accustomed to free time and relaxation, and it can be difficult to readjust to the stress and demands of the school year.
CON: Time Is Wasted Reviewing At The Beginning Of The School Year
One more con of summer vacation is wasted time at the beginning of the fall semester as students readjust to their academic schedules. Teachers will need to typically review foundational skills students should have established in their previous courses. Because of summer learning loss, teachers may need to waste time reteaching essential skills.
Summer vacation can consist of a balance of preparing for future academic pursuits, saving money, studying for the ACT and SAT exams, resting, or focusing on your social life. All of these pros can balance out summer learning loss, loss of study habits, and time wasted at the beginning of the school year.
As summer approaches, students should make plans to utilize their time effectively to better their social lives, maintain their academic strengths, and boost their mental health. It is a good idea to consider how dedicating a small amount of time to academics throughout the summer can lessen the burden of an intense schedule during the school year. Instead of taking seven classes throughout the year, you may be able to take two over the summer break and five during the school year. Making adjustments like these to your year-round schedule can significantly impact the stress of a rigorous course load.
Plan in advance! If you hope to take advantage of your free time throughout the summer months, find an ACT or SAT prep class, sign up for summer classes, contact your teachers for next year, and apply to internships early. Maximize your time throughout the summer months and ensure that the pros outweigh the cons.
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