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Friday Scholarship Guide

Summer Break in the Life of a Student Athlete


Many students have gone home by now and enjoy spending time with their families and close ones. But what're their plans for the upcoming three months before they pack their cars or board their planes and return to their schools? Athletes may choose to spend their summers quite differently. Let's have a look at some of the most typical factors, which contribute to what kind of activities students choose to spend their time on in the summer:

  • Class of ...
    How close are you to graduate from college?
  • Financial background
    Are you in need to make money to pay for costs of attendance?
  • Athletic level
    How strong an athlete are you? How strong is the athletic program you are part of? What are your ambitions?
  • Internationals
    When is the last time you've seen your family & friends?

How are all of the above connected to what most people do in the summer? Find out by reading about students' 5 main summer activities below:

#1 Work, Earn Money & Gain Experience

Whether it's getting a job in the local restaurant in your neighbourhood or teaching kids in sports summer camps, earning a few bucks here and there is not a bad thing to do. For some athletes it's even crucial, as they need to make money to pay for tuition and/or other costs related to earning an undergraduate degree at college. That's where the financial background really kicks in: how do you finance your studies? Have you agreed with your parents that you'd be making a certain amount of money in the summer breaks? Or perhaps you're one of the few lucky kids to be on a full-ride? Then perhaps, the need to work is not as big compared to others.
But what's definitely going to hold true for any young student is the fact that it's nice to earn pocket money to spend on travelling, eating out or doing fun stuff in the next academic year at college.

Depending on how far you've come with your degree - have you completed your first, second or third year? - you may be in the position to gain some work experience that is directly related to your major.
It sure is great to sell ice cream all summer long, but say you just finished your junior year and are set to graduate with a degree in biotech a year from now, chances are an exciting internship within that industry is worth more on your CV; let alone the fact that you're probably more interested in working for a potential future employer. Some students are able to get such an internship early on (after freshman year), whereas others choose to apply for the summer after sophomore or junior year.

#2 Athletic Events

For many athletes going home in the summer and competing athletically is an excellent opportunity to showcase on home turf what they have been spending their time on for the last year at college: getting better.
Whether they compete in local, regional, national, or international events, the warm time of the year is normally also when most competitions take place. Generally speaking, competing in the summer is a lot more feasible for college athletes in individual sports (golf, tennis, track & field), but not as easy for team sport athletes (soccer, volleyball, hockey).

If you are part of a really strong collegiate team and perhaps even in the position to turn pro at some point, your college coach and you will agree on you competing and focusing 100% on sports is what you should be doing over the summer. That normally also includes a practice plan for you to stick to, but more about that in a sec.



#3 Summer Practice

Getting your hours in the water, gym, on the court or on the pitch can be done in two ways: you either just go ahead and practice in a way that you think makes most sense or you get a practice plan from your college coach. In most cases, you'd have a chat with your coach before you head home, but if that's not the case, it's definitely worth bringing it up!
Either way that should keep you busy in the summer break and it's the one activity all student athletes, regardless their background, do in the summer break!

#4 Time Off

How about just chilling by the pool and taking it easy? Possible, but not recommendable. After all, you do need to get back to college in a physical shape, equivalent to that of your team mates and in line with what your coaching staff expects from the players. Don't worry: you should definitely plan in vacation, time by the pool, great moments with friends and family, but it won't be the smartest idea to do nothing than that in your summer break. It's hard to hide you have been doing nothing else than enjoying life to the fullest, once you do the first interval runs in the off-season at 6 AM in the morning. :)
Some Internationals for example might have not ben home for quite a while and the summer period is the only opportunity for them to re-connect with their closest ones, before heading off to the U.S. again.
But regardless your nationality, you are a student and being off in the summer is part of the whole student experience! Just find a good balance and make sure it works for you, your coach and ultimately also the team that you will win and lose with in the season to come.

#5 Online Classes

Last but not least, some students choose to take extra classes over the summer. That might sound like a horrible thing to do? Quite frankly speaking, it's not once you are in the situation yourself, where it could make a whole lot of sense to invest time and efforts into doing so. Perhaps you weren't able to take all the classes you wanted in the year before that, or perhaps you want to speed things up and finish a semester earlier? Whatever the reason, doing a little bit of extra work in the summer and then having a little less to do later on whenever the season starts is not a stupid thing at all.

Your Summer Before Heading To College

As you can imagine you really are in the position to make your summer break the way you like it most after your freshman, sophomore or junior year! Align with your college coaches' expectations and you'll have a beautiful set up for a lovely summer ahead of you with a great mix of sports, time off, meeting friends, and moving into your dorm room again in the beginning of the next semester. Now that you know what a typical summer may look like for you once you are a student athlete in college, perhaps a detailed lowdown of a typical day in the life of a student athlete is also interesting to learn more about for you: A Typical Day of a College Tennis Player.

Wondering what Smarthlete can offer in case you have yet to find a college team to join for the fall of 2019, 2020 or 2021?
Check out what we have in store for athletes like you on Smarthlete. Sign up with a free profile, connect with college coaches and commit or have our recruiting experts support you through the whole recruiting process from Day 1! Email contact@smarthlete.com in case you have any questions and we'll get back to you as soon as possible!