Summer is definitely a time to enjoy some rest and relaxation, as well as socialising with friends. This being said, it is also a great time to be proactive and get ready for your next year of education. Whether you are moving into Year 11, 12, 13 or beyond, here are some of the top things you could do to help your future self.

For some of the below options, they will have set dates and times, but for the activities that are more flexible, we would suggest setting aside just one afternoon per week to dedicate to your future. It will be a great use of the time, whilst still allowing you to find some down time during the summer months.

Take part in a university summer programme

Every year, the large majority of universities across the UK (and beyond!) offer summer work programmes, they aim to help you learn more about higher education and life at university. They can include Q&A sessions with students, subject taster sessions, virtual tours and, if you’re lucky, you may get a face to face tour or even the opportunity to stay at the campus.

To find these programmes, the best place to look is on the university’s website or using a platform called UniTasterDays which collates all the different university offers in one place.

Register for a virtual work experience opportunity

In addition to thinking about future education, virtual work experience is a really good way to try an industry you might be interested in. You can expect to hear from employers with the ability to ask them questions about their journeys and job roles. You can also expect to be set a series of small tasks, usually requiring you to work in a group with others. This helps to increase your skills, learn more about the industry and it looks great on your CV or personal statement!

Even if you take part and decide you don’t like the industry, it is better to decide that now than after studying the relevant subject for several more years! Knowing what you DON’T want to do is just as important as knowing what you do want to do. So, get yourself out there (virtually) and see what you learn.

Research your future options

If you’re unsure whether an apprenticeship or higher education via university is right for you, this is a great time to research and begin to make a choice. There is lots of information available online to help you research your options. This includes platforms like YouTube, which can prove to be a better research method for those who are auditory or visual learners.

Volunteer or find a part time job

There is nothing quite as impactful as actually getting stuck in! By physically getting involved in a charity event, volunteering with your local parish or finding a part time job, you will be gaining skills every single day without even realising it. Across every town and city, there are lots of volunteers required so do an internet search and see what you can find. The only thing holding you back is you!

Create a reflection log

Reflecting on something that has happened allows us to think about whether or not it has been useful for us and what we have learnt. A reflection log is something you can add to as you take part in different experiences. The basic things you need to include are; the date, what you took part in, how you felt about the experience and what you learnt from it.

Short term, this will help you to really extract all the teaching from each activity you do or event you attend. Long term, you can use your reflection log when preparing for interviews or writing your personal statement. It is difficult to remember everything you have done, so keep a log! You can do this on a spreadsheet, table in a word document or even just a note on your phone.

We hope you have found these suggestions helpful and that you are able to find a positive balance of proactive activities and rest over your summer. Remember, your future is in your hands and it’s up to you to design it then make it a reality. Good luck!