Summer School Tips for High Schoolers

You did it! You made it through finals and the end-of-the-school-year push—now to arrive at the start of summer school. That could mean the dreaded return of early mornings and hours spent in the classroom, but it could also mean learning some interesting material and hanging out with friends from class.

You may be wanting to make the summer school transition and experience as smooth and effective as possible. Summer school tips for high schoolers can include taking a break first, communicating with others about your expectations for the summer, keeping an open mind, and remaining focused on the goal at hand.

Summer school tip #1: Take a break 

Hopefully you’ll have a window of time before you start summer school. Even if it’s just a weekend, take advantage of it. Think about what you were dreaming about doing while in the midst of studying. Was it sleeping in? Playing basketball with your friends? Catching up on all your favorite TV shows? Do those things! They’ll replenish you and help create a restful time.

[RELATED: The Best Study Breaks: How to Avoid Study Overload]

This is also a great habit to start cultivating before college. There is always work to be done, so it’s important to learn how to set aside healthy break time. 

Summer school tip #2: Be prepared for your summer school course(s) 

Before the start of summer school, make sure you know exactly what will be expected of you. This may include:

  • specific books, notebooks, writing utensils, or other materials

  • a varying time commitment

  • transportation arrangements

  • balancing any summer extracurriculars

Gather your materials, get organized, and be prepared. This will help you jump into the course ready to learn and get as much out of the experience as possible. If you are spending part of the summer in the classroom, you want to put yourself in the best possible position to reap the benefits.

Summer school tip #3: Stay focused on the goal

There are several different reasons for attending summer school. Sometimes it’s to retake a course, get ahead, or pursue enrichment activities. These are all very different goals and require different tactics. If you’re retaking a course, it might be good to pinpoint what didn’t work in the course before. Were you getting enough support on homework? Did you find that a certain learning style didn’t work for you? Some reflection might bring about more success this round. If you’re trying to get ahead in a subject or try something new, check out your subject online and start previewing. Previewing helps with comprehending and remembering information long-term.

Summer school tip #4: Figure out what kind of structure you need

Some students know exactly what they need to bring about academic success. Some are still figuring it out. Wherever you are, create some sort of structure for your summer school class. Maybe it’s setting a timer for 30 minutes for an intensive, uninterrupted study time. Maybe it’s getting together with some new friends from class and making the material a little more fun and manageable. Or maybe it’s buying a planner and actually making a plan for the week every Sunday evening. Whatever it is, make a plan and stick to it throughout the summer. 

[RELATED: Time Management Tips for Students]

Summer school tip #5: Keep an open mind

Summer school can sometimes get a bad rap because, well, it’s school in the summer. But it doesn’t have to be a negative experience. Without the pressure of having all of your classes at the same time and extracurriculars piled on top, you can really take the time to fully learn and understand the material in the class. You might not realize this now, but that time is a gift. Plus, your teacher might end up sparking your interest in something you’ve never thought of before, or you might end up meeting your new best friend. Who knows! Keeping an open mind can bring about these possibilities. 

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