For most students, summer means more free time. Wouldn’t it be great if your student used some of that time to create a plan for life after high school? If you think that’s going to be a hard sell, this post is for you. Here are four easy things your student can do this summer to invest in his or her future.


Let’s start with the easiest thing a student can add to his or her summer schedule: listening to podcasts. Podcasts are great because they’re informative and can be incorporated into other activities. You could encourage your student to turn on a podcast during his or her commute to work, morning run, or shower time.  Suddenly, time that could easily be considered a waste becomes a learning experience. Here are some podcasts available on iTunes that could greatly benefit you student:

  • College Info Geek: This is the perfect podcast for the reluctant podcast listener. Host Thomas Frank takes a work-smarter-not-harder approach to help students master college and prepare to enter the workplace.
  • The College Checklist Podcast: ACT and SAT expert Lauren Gaggioli shares information to help students and parents navigate the college admissions process.
  • How Did You Get Into That?: In this podcast, motivational speaker Grand Baldwin interviews professionals in a variety of fields to uncover how they discovered their passions and paved the way to careers they love.


To make wise career and academic major choices, students need to define their skills, interests, and values. Your student can gain a better understanding of these things by completing a free online assessment.

Assessments ask students to answer a series of questions about themselves. Based on their responses, students receive a profile that outlines their skills, interests, or values. Some assessments go a step further and recommend careers that match a student’s profile.

Free assessments typically don’t give students enough information to make well-informed career or academic major choices. However, they are good starting points and may even give your student the motivation to do more self and career exploration during the summer.

Here are three assessments to get your student started:


There are some great books that can help your student plan for the future by telling stories of people who have already navigated the path between high school and college graduation. If your student isn’t a big reader, encourage him or her to read one chapter during a time that might otherwise go to waste. Examples are long car rides and waiting at the doctor’s office or car repair shop. A book preview may pique your student’s interest enough to keep reading.

Here are some books I recommend:


Informational interviews and job shadowing help students gain first-hand exposure to careers that interest them. Arranging these experiences can be time and work intensive. However, your student can by-pass some of the legwork by finding interviewees in your family’s social network.

Sit down with your student and brainstorm family members, friends, neighbors, or people you know through various organizations who may work in a field that interests your student. Then encourage your student to invite one of these people to coffee or lunch so that they can discuss the professional’s career journey. See these blog posts for more help and information:


Summer should be restful, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be productive too. Challenge your student to invest in one of these activities this summer.

Please see this disclosure about the book links in this post.