The summer holidays are a great time for relaxing and recharging your batteries, but for students they also represent a great opportunity to boost their prospects for the next academic year, says LVS Ascot Principal Christine Cunniffe.
Christine, who has been a guest speaker at both the Independent Schools Show and the Festival of Education, said: “If you are not feeling stimulated during the long summer break, perhaps with parents working and friends away, there are a number of things you can do – academic or non-academic – that will stand you in good stead at school and beyond.”
Her first piece of advice is that those old enough should look to take on a job over the summer break. LVS Ascot’s work experience week is a key time in preparing students for independence beyond education, with a range of innovative and exciting placements, and replicating this in the holidays is important. It can even be voluntary, non-paid work as that will show willingness to be proactive and help in the community, ticking many boxes for future employers. Christine says: “It doesn’t matter how much you work or what work you do, this will look impressive on your CV. It also shows that you are enthusiastic and diligent, can work with other people and that you are independent and confident.”
Whether students are at junior school, senior school or approaching crucial A-level years, for young people of all ages the summer break is also a good opportunity to tackle some topics they found hard in the previous year. Christine says: “It might not seem an exciting prospect picking up your maths book but it would be a great job done to take some time looking over difficult topics so you hit the ground running in September. YouTube is a great resource to help explain difficult topics and working at your own pace in a quiet environment can be very productive. Come September when you are feeling more comfortable and familiar with the subject matter than your peers might be, you will be really pleased you took some time to prepare!”
Developing a wider range of non-academic skills is also a good way of using the summer break in an interesting and engaging way. This can be honing existing skills or trying out completely new ones to help demonstrate on your CV what you are interested in and what non-academic skills you are developing. With a thriving Duke of Edinburgh’s scheme at LVS Ascot that provides many opportunities for students to test themselves and enjoy enriching experiences, Christine’s advice is that: “Developing skills and interests doesn’t have to be expensive. Walking or hiking, swimming, learning a language, reading, and writing short stories is a good way of extending yourself and keeping yourself occupied over the holidays.”
“It’s easy to lay in bed too long or play computer games but my advice is to treat the summer days as you would school days – a little of everything goes a long way in keeping yourself occupied, learning news skills and preparing yourself for the next academic year. It should not then be too difficult when the alarm clock sounds in the first week of September, and can help to relieve any anxiety about returning to school for the next academic year.”
LVS Ascot Principal Christine Cunniffe