Some students dream about the end of the semester when they'll get a break from classes and the daily grind. Yet, summer isn't a time to slack off completely. Instead, it can be a great time for students to get ahead or catch up.

Summer classes. Taking a summer class can be a way for your student to get ahead for the next semester. Some students find it helpful to take a class during the summer that they expect to be difficult so they can focus more time and attention on it. If your student struggled with a class during the academic year, he might be able to retake the class to help his overall grade point average. Just make sure he talks with the Registrar's Office before signing up for the class. He'll need to make sure his school will accept the credits.

An internship or job. Summer is a great time to get a job. Even better is getting a job that counts as an internship so your student can get credit for the experience. For instance, if your student is an engineering major, perhaps they can intern at a local manufacturing plant, helping design new equipment. Internships are a great way for students to apply what they've learned in the classroom while gaining practical experience. It's also a great way to understand what a career really entails so your student will know if they really wants to continue in the major. Most internships are done during junior or senior year, but sophomores may still apply. Some internships are paid, while others just offer experience.

Campus work study. If your student is staying on campus to take summer classes, have them look into campus work study. Many offices are still open during the summer break and will need student workers. Non-work-study jobs may also be available.

Volunteer. For the civic-minded student, summer can be a great time to volunteer. As a young adult, this can be an opportune time for your student to travel. Why not travel and give something back? Opportunities are available locally, nationally and internationally.

Test taking. For older students who will be going onto graduate, law or medical school, the summer is perfect for taking entrance tests, like the LSAT or MCAT.

Do research. Summer is also downtime for faculty, which allows them time to focus on research. Your student may get the chance to actively conduct research in afield related to their major. The professor will likely include their name when the research is published.

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