Stop the WHINE: Keep Your Kids From Getting Bored This Summer

By GALTime College Coach Suzanne Shaffer
When my kids were teenagers, "I'm bored" came flowing out of their mouths almost every single day during the summer. They missed their friends. They missed the constant activity. They missed participating in all the school-related extracurricular activities. If you have kids, it's inevitable that those words will be spoken in your household during the summer.

When you hear those words (and even if you don't) here's a list of summer activities that will keep your college-bound teen busy AND help their college admissions process in the future.

Itunes University

Content on iTunes U is accessible through iTunes, an application many students are already using. So it's easy and intuitive for them to find what they're looking for. They can download iTunes U audio and video offerings one at a time or subscribe to entire courses and have new items download automatically as soon as they become available. There are over 600 universities with active iTunes U sites. About half of these institutions -- including Stanford, Yale, MIT, Oxford, and UC Berkeley -- distribute their content publicly on the iTunes Store. In the Beyond Campus section of iTunes U, students and faculty can access a wealth of content from distinguished entities such as MoMA, the New York Public Library, Public Radio International, and PBS stations.

Preliminary College Visits

Use the summer to visit some colleges and get a feel for the campuses. Schedule some visits during family vacations, or set up multiple visits over a few days. You won't get the "complete" college experience because it's summer, but you can walk around freely, check out the library, student union building and even the campus bookstore. If you're lucky, the summer staff will still be conducting college tours.

PSAT/SAT Word Study

The last thing your teen probably wants to be doing over the summer is studying for any tests. But, they can take advantage of a great SAT word site and increase their SAT vocabulary. Just a few minutes every day will go a long way in helping to improve their SAT scores in the fall. Not to mention, it's fun!


Find something that your teen is interested in and encourage them to volunteer over the summer: Habitat for Humanity, a political campaign, or the local hospital. The opportunities are endless and it will teach them community responsibility while contributing to their overall high school resume/portfolio.

Essay Writing

Encourage your teen to use the time over the summer to write, even if it's a daily journal. This activity will spur ideas and often give them essay topics for the college essay. The more they write, the more comfortable they become and the more accomplished their essays will be.

Start a Business or Search for Scholarships

Summer doesn't have to be spent vegging on the couch watching television. "I'm bored" will NEVER be uttered with this list of recommended summer activities.