posted May 26, 2010, 11:57 PM by Glenda Durano   [ updated Jun 29, 2010, 2:45 PM ]


One of the best kept secrets in preparing for college is the season of summer.  Many parents and students use summer as a time to kick back and chill out after a challenging academic year.  Surveys indicate, however, that students who have a productive, fulfilling summer return to school more satisfied than those who have ‘wasted’ the long summer months.  In fact, some students who admit to being ‘bored during the summer’ atrophy academically, and it takes them longer to gear back up for the school year.  Unproductive students confess to being jealous of classmates who have taken advantage of growth experiences during the summer.  Middle and high school students crave opportunities, but lack direction.  That’s where the parent comes in. 

An involved parent is necessary to assist and motivate the student in discovering academic and service opportunities that enhance his or her passions.  It’s as easy as talking to friends, calling organizations or businesses, and searching the internet.  No special skill is required—merely a desire to give your student the experiences he needs to develop his talents or abilities.  If your student is a sophomore or higher, your role may simply be to act as an encourager. 

A summer experience doesn’t have to be expensive.  Granted, there are some fabulous programs for future engineers, opera singers, and Olympic hopefuls that cost a couple of thousand dollars, but building opportunities for your child doesn’t necessarily mean you have to empty your pocketbook.  In fact, summer is a great time for your student to actually raise money for college—either in terms of a job or entering scholarship competitions.  A summer opportunity can mean attending a summer class or camp, leading a group of peers in community service, participating in a summer theatre program, researching a science project, getting an article published, starting a newsletter or organization, inventing something, shadowing or interning at a business, planning and executing a special vacation, taking a college-level class, volunteering with an organization that utilizes a skill you want to develop, or demonstrating entrepreneurial skills by starting a new business.  The possibilities are endless.

 Having a scheduled, productive summer doesn’t necessarily mean that the summer will be ‘busy.’  It does, however, mean that the summer will be fruitful.  Your student will have an experience that will be beneficial and will enhance his résumé.  The activity may even serve to confirm or negate a student’s serious interest in a particular field.  Many students arrive at college without a firm grasp of their passions because they have not been exposed to various interests.  Use the summer to grow your student.  Give him fertile ground to explore his passions, and water his experience by showing an interest in what he is doing.  Even if your passion is not engineering, but your child’s is, you can encourage your student by having a willingness to learn about what interests him.  That’s one way of showing God’s love—by preferring others over yourself (Romans 12:10).  It’s also part of the parents’ job (Proverbs 22:6). 

Don’t just do something for the sake of doing it.  Seek the Lord.  Ask Him to provide you with the wisdom (James 1:5) and the opportunities (Colossians 4:5) to nurture your child’s relationship with Him.  He is faithful (1 Corinthians 1:9)!

Importance of Parental Involvement Video