Parent College Coach Tip #18: Summer Boredom Crushers

Summer boredom crushers. Be ready when your teen complains, "I'm bored."School’s out for the summer and it won’t be long before you hear those dreaded words, “I’m bored.”

Personally, I never liked those words. I don’t use them myself and I taught my kids not to use them. They knew if they used them, I would find them something to occupy their time and they wouldn’t like it.

While you can’t jam college prep down your teen’s throat this summer, you can prepare for those “I’m bored” moments and take advantage of the opportunity to help them find something to occupy their time.


Work on the vocab

You won’t be able to shove flash cards in their face, but maybe you can convince them to download some apps. I mean, they spend hours looking at their phones. Why not make them productive and — because it’s an app — they might actually use it.

Go on an outing

If you live near some colleges, spend the day visiting one or two or more. Summer is a great time to make non-official college visits and wander around campus. While you’re out, sample some of the campus cuisine.

Pay it forward

What better way to amp up the resume than to do some volunteer work? If you have to, make it a family affair and get creative. Think about ways your family can give back to the community and make it your family’s summer project.

Find some money

Figure out a way to make scholarship searching fun (or at least tolerable). Encourage him to spend part of his “boredom” time searching for scholarships. If you must, there are apps for this too.

Pick up a good book

It’s not surprising that reading is the best pastime for college-bound teens. There are so many benefits from delving into a good book: increases vocabulary, improves cognitive skills, and for most, it’s enjoyable. If your teen doesn’t like reading, get him some books that interest him—it doesn’t have to be the classics.

Go back to school

Not technically. But iTunes University and Kahn Academy have online courses that can give your teen a view of college curriculum or a step-by-step explanation of that complicated calculus they simply don’t understand. What’s the benefit? It’s online–and what teenager doesn’t love being online?

Start a journal

Hand him a journal. Tell him to write what he’s thinking right now—even if he’s upset that you handed him a journal and told him to write. Journaling is a good way to learn how to express your feelings and good practice for writing the college essay.


Author: Suzanne Shaffer

Suzanne Shaffer advises parents and students in the college admissions process and the importance of early college preparation at She is excited to share her knowledge with the readers of Smart College Visit.

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