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Springing Ahead: How to Make the Most of Your Spring Break

Between balancing classes, homework, extracurriculars, and other commitments, most students struggle to find time during the school year for additional opportunities. However, Spring Break is a fantastic time to take advantage of ~9 days (don’t forget the weekends!) of unstructured and uninterrupted “free” time. No matter your grade level, Spring Break gives you the opportunity to strengthen your profile and address potential blindspots before applying for summer programs, internships, or college. You can volunteer, work toward different awards, or start a community, research, or personal project. 

Below are 6 focus areas to ensure your Spring Break is productive and meaningful. Remember to set concrete goals for each relevant area and to start planning as soon as possible. 

1. Academics

Spring Break is a fantastic time to get ahead in your classes. You can refer to your syllabi or ask your teachers what concepts and/or projects will be covered for the rest of the year. You can also cover material you haven’t yet mastered, especially in more difficult or challenging classes. Finally, you can prepare for AP/IB exams by creating a detailed study plan (ex: how many units, chapters, or concepts will you cover each week?). If needed, set up 1:1 tutoring sessions for extra guidance in your current coursework or for upcoming exams. 

B2A is offering 6-day, intensive classes for the Digital SAT, the ACT, and AP Exams across a wide range of subjects. Here is a link to B2A’s full 2024 Spring Break schedule. 

2. Volunteering

Another great use of your Spring Break is seeking service experiences that you’re passionate about that will help you stand out from other applicants! Pursue genuine fulfillment in giving back to your community in ways that matter to you. Think about what causes you care about and what skills you have that can be utilized to give back. Are you passionate about the environment and sustainability? Consider setting up a composting program at your school or starting a nonprofit dedicated to teaching youth about sustainable technology. If you care about animals and are a great writer or photographer, consider volunteering at a local animal shelter or rescue—take pictures and/or write bios to help pets get adopted! 

3. Extracurriculars

There are also several ways to gain experience and explore your intended major or field of interest. 

  • Shadowing – reach out to businesses and/or individuals in careers related to your academic or intellectual passions. Many students associate shadowing with the medical field, but you can shadow any industry—it’s a fantastic way to get real-world experience, mentoring, and advice from professionals. Draft a list of ~5-15 options and call or email to see if they would be able and willing to let you shadow. If not, they may be able to do an informational interview, sharing details about their day-to-day workload, educational background, and career journey.

  • Research project – investigate a specific research area or question related to your interests in the field. An independent research project offers you the freedom to pursue your unique passions and can help you gain experience concerning the academic research process. Often, it is helpful to work with a mentor, but certain research can be done entirely independently—even publishing in a student journal or online magazine 

  • Online courses – take an online course through platforms like Coursera or edX. There are hundreds of courses taught by world-class professors and professionals on a huge variety of topics, including specialized areas of study like Chemical Engineering, Industrial Biotechnology, and Entrepreneurship. 

  • Certifications – consider seeking certifications for different hard skills relevant to your industry (CAD, first aid, a programming language, Excel, data analysis software, etc.). You can often build on these skills in future internships, personal projects, and summer programs. 

4. Honors & Awards

Many students struggle to secure academic and/or extracurricular awards and honors. Top colleges and competitive programs want to see students win awards at the State, National, and even International level. Spring Break offers the chance for you to prepare for upcoming UIL, DECA, BPA, FBLA, and hackathon competitions and to seek out additional contests and competitions relevant to your field. Most prestigious competitions require months or even years of preparation, so take advantage of Spring Break to look into their requirements and rules—start planning ahead! 

5. Summer Plans

It’s not too late to solidify your plans for summer! Start by finishing and submitting your summer program applications. This process can be very similar to the college application process and is great practice, especially for essay writing. You can also begin securing a summer internship or research opportunity by reaching out to different businesses, organizations, and professors with your interests, goals, and resume. Finally, you can start planning a more in-depth personal project. Perhaps you want to host a no-cost coding camp, found a nonprofit, or even start your own business. In any case, Spring Break is the perfect opportunity to get a headstart!

6. College Preparation 

Finally, you can work to prepare for college in several ways depending on your grade level.

  • Reassess your interests and skills through online career assessment tests like the O*NET Interest Profiler

  • Research potential careers with the US Bureau of Labor Statistics’s Occupational Outlook Handbook

  • Match your results from the resources above to potential majors and start researching these majors and specific programs at different schools

  • Start thinking about specific research questions or areas of interest within your intended major by reading the news, exploring current research at specific schools and institutes, etc. 

  • Take a practice or diagnostic SAT/ACT, determine when you will take the test, and start studying to reach your goal score * B2A offers free SAT/ACT diagnostic tests and consultations

  • Plan and visit colleges of interest on your list. Here is a recent B2A blog on how to make the most of these visits and campus tours 

  • Research colleges and create, revise, and/or finalize your list of colleges 

  • Update and polish your resume 

For further help identifying gaps in your profile or setting up a personalized plan for Spring Break and beyond, reach out to B2A for 1:1 tutoring, career exploration, and application assistance.


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