We suggest three different approaches to keeping your brain well-running this summer: online courses, planning ahead, and/or educating yourself. There are plenty of free ways to study while still enjoying your Summer break!
If you were thinking these are your study-free months – but wait! There is lots of good reason and science that encourages learning during the summer months. And there can even be some fun in studying over the summer.
Research has shown most students experience “summer slide,” falling behind in reading ability and academic skills when they don’t read or study over the summer. Meantime, savvy students use the time off to get ahead. With so many excellent and free resources available, why not gift yourself with some new knowledge or at least stay the course and don’t fall behind?
Traditional Free Classes Online Courses
Maybe you are behind in a certain subject or just not that into it. Taking an online course could be a good way to get up to speed or learn the material in a new light. Maybe you just like to be ahead of the curve – to preview your next year’s subjects – , that’s an option too.
There are loads of free options. Have a look at these websites and read through the reviews. But be sure to finish a course rather than serial “reviewing them first” or jumping from one course to another. These are all well respected venues and you will get some good results from taking a class (or more). Insh’Allah, of course.
1 – Open Culture
One of the best-known sites with 1,300 free online courses from the world’s leading universities, including Stanford, Yale, MIT, Harvard, Berkeley, Oxford and more.
Another classic in online learning from the world’s best universities and companies, such as Intel, Amazon, Google, etc.
A newer, cooler way to learn online with super short courses, usually about 3 hours in length. They have a great range of topics, such as health and wellbeing, digital communication, developing research topics, young people and mental health – so many engaging courses, have a look!
Classic and proven effective. Use Khan Academy to catch up or get ahead.
5 – edX
Founded by Harvard and MIT edX has an especially nice interface and selection of science and business-related courses.
More online courses, many of which can be completed in 2-3 hours, and come with certificates.
7 – Your University of Choice’s Courses
Many universities now offer free courses online. Check your prospective schools for classes or take one from a prestigious school, such as those listed on Open Culture.
Planning Ahead for Your Academic Success
Ahhh, right before you is the perfect time to meet long term academic goals or do some real quality extracurricular studying.
8 – Nail the SAT, ACT and/or entrance exams.
You will likely be taking one, two or all of those tests to go to university. Taking a full length practice exam is the best way to know how well you are prepping for it. Find out which exam is most likely for you, then do some studying for it and take the practice test.
For the SAT and ACT you can use websites or apps to study and take practice tests. You can also use the traditional method of buying or checking out from the library study books for the SAT or ACT.
For entrance exams, search your prospective university’s website for information on their entrance exam. You can also do some general search engine research and will likely find detailed information about the exams and maybe even practice exams specifically for your university.
9 – Explore Your Dream Career
What is your field of interest? There are loads of interesting, fun courses you can take online related to your dream career. This is a great list to explore for entrepreneurs and even personal growth.
Alternative Options and Ideas
Okay, you just can’t sit down and do a class during these beautiful, bright days. Don’t. There are other ways to keep the juices flowing over the summer.
10 – Listen to Motivational or Educational lectures
Going for a long walk or traveling? Download some excellent content and make double-duty of the time. Commencement speeches are written to motivate and inspire, also consider Ted Talks, and searching for podcasts related to your long term academic and career interests.
11 – Get Some Advanced Planning Skills
Taking a trip with the family or anyone else? You can easily get some more organization or planning skills by doing some research on your destination, finding out what are some interesting activities to do or sites to see while you are there. You can also help choose restaurants to eat at ahead of time and even check the weather to know what to prepare for. All of this adds up to valuable “event planning” skills you’ll want to have on your CV or use in life.
12 – Build Your Own Field Trip
Do you know it’s actually not too hard to plan a field trip and you can do one yourself? Consider what fields you are interested in, then explore local opportunities to learn more about them. You can visit a museum or specialty shop. Maybe gather a few friends with similar interests and call local businesses for a group tour. You could also ask if there are opportunities to do an internship or volunteer there.
Maybe the Best Starting Point is…
13 – Learn How to Really Use a Planner
If you haven’t already, start the daily habit of using a planner to map out regular activities as well as long and short term goals. A planner is a good way to start on a project you’ve had in mind but are intimidated to start. Break it down into bite-sized activities, or watch a tutorial to help you use a planner or plan a project. This organizational skill is one many people lack and will ultimately be very helpful throughout your life. Be sure to get a cute one that you enjoy using.
Whatever course you take, before each session plan to reward yourself when you are done. This is a proven technique to motivate yourself. When bigger goals are reached, such as finishing a course or practice exam, give yourself a bigger reward.
Studying during the summer doesn’t have to be dreadful or even take a lot of time. Just keep going in any style you like and rest assured that it will be like a gift to yourself, reducing your stress and pressure in the fall, maybe even longer.