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Summer Plans Fell Through? Here's How to Pivot

Over the weekend, our Application Nation - Class of 2021 group pondered an important question: What can a high school student do this summer with COVD-19 cancelling classes, programs, and other opportunities?

Some parents in our group asked for suggestions after their child's plans fell through. Others offered up detailed examples of how their child's plans have been adapted to fit the restrictions in place for the quarantine. I weighed in on everyone's situation and offered ideas to those who needed them.

It was a proud moment as it reminds me of how we can help each other during this time, but also because I was floored by some of the inspiring ideas shared with the group. While students are frustrated that their plans may have fallen through, sometimes the ideas they generate as alternatives show even more initiative in the end.


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If you were supposed to attend a fully-funded program this summer, here are some things to consider:

  • Is the program offering an online version?
  • If not, can you replicate aspects of the program on your own through independent study, research, and writing?
  • Can you reach out to other students who were planning to attend the program and create something special as a group?
  • Can you take a low-cost online college class in a related subject matter from a local university?
  • Could you reach out to a non-profit organization related to the academic area you had planned to study and offer to volunteer with any online projects?


Summer job no longer in the cards?

  • Can you do the job remotely?
  • Can you take on a different role within the company, organization, or business that you can do from home?
  • Can you earn money or help out your family in some way? Younger siblings to babysit, a grandparent's care, cooking, cleaning?
  • Can you tutor, mow lawns, or help out neighbors?


Or what about an on-site internship which is no longer happening?

  • Ask about being a part of the company or organization during Zoom meetings and sessions.
  • Reach out to someone in the company or organization and ask them to mentor you. 
  • Offer to do side projects for them.

RELATED READING: The Class of 2021 Will Make History with a New College Admissions Process Due to COVID-19

As much as high school students like the traditional and structured paths of a program, job, or internship, I am always significantly more impressed with and moved by students who use their creativity and ingenuity to pivot and do something completely self-driven and no cost. Summer is always an opportunity to build up evidence for your academic or extracurricular interests. Where there is a will, there is a way!