Crafting a Productive Summer

A desire to create rich academic experiences for our students is at the heart of everything we do here at Rainbow. We believe that there are endless ways to create meaningful educational experiences in and out of the classroom, and we take pride in helping families curate these experiences to suit their personal needs.

One of questions we are asked the most pertains to how students can best use their summer vacations. With so much time, and with endless activities from which to choose, many parents and students feel lost deciphering how to best utilize their summers in order to prepare for college applications, or to boost their resumé for the next big internship.

Below are some of our best tips for high schoolers, college students, and beyond!

High School

Non-Teenager Activities (NTAs)

NTAs are one of the most underrated components to a high school education! What are NTAs exactly? NTAs are simply activities that most teenagers don’t do. They are activities that you wouldn’t find at your typical high school club fair. Teaching yourself to crochet, working on a political campaign, and translating a love for cooking into a cookbook are just a few examples. The best NTAs demonstrate that the student takes initiative. At times, they may look similar to activities most teenagers do, but they are projects where students go deeper – whether that means taking on entrepreneurial aspects or multi-dimensional leadership. Why do we love NTAs so much? Well, not only are they one of the best ways to differentiate oneself from other students in the college admissions process, but they also allow students to explore their interests and passions in unique, personalized ways!

Work a Job

This may seem obvious, but it isn’t to many people. Gaining work experience – whether it is at a favorite ice cream shop or working as a lifeguard at a local pool – is one of the most underrated activities that high school students can do with their time. When students go out for their first internships in college, having real work experience is invaluable to show future employers that they have worked successfully for other employers. Make sure to graduate high school with a bit of work experience under your belt!

Get ahead on Test Prep

Summer is one of the most optimal times to begin test prep! A common approach for families of high schoolers is to wait until the fall of Junior year rolls around to consider a plan for standardized testing, but summer allows most students with more energy and focus to devout to the tests. The school year is exhausting, and the last thing most students want to do is start preparing for the SAT/ACT. Still, this is one of the best times to commence preparation, as committing the undivided time to studying leads to better results and often, fewer early mornings taking the tests! If you are interested in learning more about our unique and impactful approach standardized test prep at Rainbow, click here.

Read for Pleasure

One of the tried and true interview questions for colleges and internships has to do with your favorite books! Reading for pleasure is the best way to engage in conversations about literature because you will not only have read the books, but you will also have valuable insight to share since the content is meaningful. Whether you love science fiction or historical novels, reading for fun this summer is an invaluable gift you can give to not only yourself, but also to your future self.
College + Beyond

Consider an Unconventional Internship

Any college student knows that there are coveted internships in every field and major. What most students don’t know, is that there are countless ways to gain real experiences that are outside of the typical internship routes. Seek internships based on the experiences offered, not just the company name. Are you a journalism major interested in podcasts? Seeking an internship at a local station that will enable you to interact with the equipment, and learn some genuine podcasting skills, may be more valuable than the internship at the larger station where you will be getting the boss’s coffee. Consider the work you will be doing, and what skills you can gain from the experience, before signing onto a summer-long commitment. There is nothing worse than feeling that you wasted your summer on an internship that didn’t leave you with new skills or opportunities for professional growth.

Educate Yourself

It is nearly impossible to find any one internship or summer opportunity that will teach you everything you are interested in learning. Take advantage of the free time, and use it toteach yourself something new. Are you interested in learning to code? Find a cheap program or commit to coding an hour a day! Have an amazing entrepreneurial idea but have no idea how to tangibly start a business? Check out some books at the library and set up some meetings with people who can help you! There are so many ways to learn, and teaching oneself is one of the most empowering ways to pursue your interests and make palpable progress towards your personal and professional goals!

Explore Graduate School Opportunities

Exploring the myriad of opportunities for graduate work can be overwhelming! Many people are interested in pursuing a graduate degree, but do not know what kind of degree best suits their goals. Using the summer to explore different options is a valuable use of any young adult’s time. Research programs and connect with people that have insight about what degrees may be useful within your desired field. Making the choice to invest in a graduate degree can be a terrific decision, but doing one’s due-diligence is important. Learn about how we approach graduate admissions Rainbow


One of the most common misconceptions about productivity is that rest is not a part of it. This is untrue! Rest is one of the most important aspects of living a productive life! When we are rested, we can work more efficiently. College and adulthood can be incredibly stressful. Carving out time to relax is important for all people, but especially for young adults working their first jobs or between intense semesters. There are countless ways to take care of yourself, and like education, self-care should be personal! Do what makes you happy, whether it is yoga in the park, treating yourself to your favorite burrito, getting a pedicure, or taking a nap on the beach!

We hope that you enjoyed learning some of our best ideas about crafting a productive summer. We are excited to hear about how your summer unfolds and to share your experiences and insights with other students within the community.