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Do College Students Go Home for Summer?

College is a big part of some people’s lives. It’s a time of change, growth, and a way to prepare for the working world. Yet, some students might be wondering whether they’ll go home for the summer.

College students do go home for summer. Summer is an excellent opportunity to participate in internships, study abroad, or get a job to save money for tuition and build a resume. In fact, many public universities require that students go home for the summer. 

The rest of this article will discuss how often college students go home, travel safely, and things they can do to make the most of their time at home.

How Often Do Students Go Home From College?

Most colleges and universities use a semester system for their academic year. The institution divides class time into fall and spring semesters. Though not as common, some institutions also have winter semesters that are about 3-4 weeks long. Throughout both semesters, colleges allow breaks for their students.

Students go home from college as often as they wish, as long as they are back for classes during the semester. Typically, students go home from college during holidays like Christmas and Thanksgiving, in-between semesters, and summer. 

Some students still live at home and commute to their school because they live in the same city as their institution.

Do college students go home for summer?

Most colleges recognize that students prefer to go home for the holidays, allowing time off during the winter and Thanksgiving. During this time, students will likely visit home to spend time with family and friends. 

In some cases, colleges will even close their residence halls. For international students, this might mean that they need to find temporary alternative housing. 

Students are also given the summer off. Once finals are completed and the spring semester has ended, students can enjoy about 2-3 months free from school.

However, some students live only a couple of hours, or even minutes, away from home, and they can visit their families on weekends or when needed. Furthermore, some students are considered commuter students, which means that they commute to school daily.

Source: Campus Explorer: The College Academic Calendar

Safety Tips for Traveling Back Home

Most students take flights to travel between school and home. However, it might not be safe to do this during a pandemic.

The following are some tips students can use for safe travels:

  • Avoid using public transport if possible. If a student has a car or their families are willing to pick them up, it might be best for a student to do this to avoid close contact with others. The CDC recommends wearing a mask over the nose and mouth when unable to utilize a personal vehicle. It’s mandatory to wear a mask on public transportation because of how crowded the specific vehicle might be. 
  • Always keep hands washed and sanitized. If traveling by plane is unavoidable, hands should be kept clean and sanitized, and students should keep their distance from others.
  • Thoroughly plan the route. When traveling home from college, students should plan the way they’ll take, and intentionally making plans to stop for food or gas is imperative. It’s also essential to keep in mind that depending on the distance between the college and home, students should find out if they’ll stay in a hotel. However, students should travel within a day to avoid touching bacteria and potentially getting infected.
  • Keep constant communication. Students should keep in touch with their families throughout the drive home. Doing this will help students in cases of emergencies or uncertainties they might have regarding their travel home.
  • Keep money on hand. Anything can happen when traveling exceptionally long distances, and students must keep cash on them in emergencies. It also helps to hold some cash if the student feels hungry or pays unexpected hotel fees
  • Travel with a friend. Though you should keep your distance from others, if it is a student’s first time traveling alone, it might be wise to travel with a friend. If a student knows another student who is headed towards their city, they may want to travel with that person. Doing this keeps students from getting lost and is a great way to keep them company if the trip is long.

Source: Harvard Health Publishing: College student coming home? What to know and do 

Source: CDC: Safer Travel Tips for Families with Unvaccinated Children

Making the Most Out of Summer

Now that a student is in college, they must use all of their time wisely. 

Taking a break and doing leisurely activities is acceptable and incredibly encouraged. However, college is also an opportunity for students to explore their interests, learn more about themselves, and discover work opportunities for their future. 

Summer is especially a good time for students to build up their resumes and to gain experience. They can do this through summer jobs, internships, studying abroad, volunteering, taking summer classes, and attending workshops or networking events.

Here are some details on how to optimize all of those opportunities:

  • Get a summer job. Summer jobs are an excellent way to build up a student’s resume. If they find a job that relates to a specific major, it can enhance a student’s experience and make students more competitive in the workforce. Additionally, summer jobs are an excellent way to save money and possibly use the money to pay off some of the tuition.
  • Enhance future job opportunities by doing summer internships. Summer internships allow students to discover if their desired field is right for them. They are also a fantastic way for students to get a taste of the working world. Along with the benefits, specific major programs require internships to graduate. Students should ask their academic advisor for help.
  • Study abroad. Summer break can be pretty long, and it can also be boring, but studying abroad can fix that, as this allows students to gain credit at a more affordable cost, which might sometimes be more affordable than a public institution at home. Students can also experience another culture and language, and they can be more competitive in the job market and stand out from other applicants.
  • Volunteer in the local community. Some colleges require their students to complete a certain amount of hours for community service. Summer is a fantastic way to do this because it allows students to focus on achieving their hours. It can help students gain experience in their desired field and can be used to sharpen resumes. It’s also an excellent way to demonstrate good character and benefit the community.
  • Take summer courses. College students have the opportunity to take classes over the summer to get ahead and earn credit. Most colleges offer summer courses for students to take. However, students can save money by enrolling in classes from a local community as transient students. Being a transient student also helps the student stay home while also continuing to work towards their degree.
  • Attend workshops or networking events. College students should attend job fairs, resume workshops, summer programs, and other networking events to learn about the working world and create relationships with established people. These events will allow students to meet others and participate in fun activities. Additionally, networking will enable students to find mentors willing to help a student on their professional journey.

Source: Go Overseas: 7 Benefits of Studying Abroad in Summer

Source: US News: Why You Should Get a Summer Internship

Quarter System

Going home and participating in summer opportunities is more tricky for students who go to colleges that follow a quarter system.

It’s more challenging to land internships and study abroad with quarter system schools because of the shorter time students get for visiting home. Additionally, most internships and study abroad programs go by a semester system, and it isn’t easy to accommodate students from quarter system institutions.

Parents: Preparing for the Move-In

Parents are likely wondering how their students re-adjust to life back at home. It’s not easy, and students will need time and space to adjust to their home life.

Here are some tips on how to create a smooth transition from school to home life:

  • Understand that students have changed. A lot can happen between the time the student steps foot in college and when they come back. Parents should approach their students coming back with patience and understanding. Students are humans who are beginning to find who they are, and they’ll need guidance.
  • Re-establish the culture and routine of the house. After getting used to being independent, students will likely put off going with the household flow for a while. Parents can help ease the transition by setting up household routines and responsibilities for their students while also leaving room for leniency when they first move back in.
  • Be aware of any underlying issues. Sometimes significant transitions such as living without parents for the first time can put a lot of stress on a young adult. Parents should pay attention to signs and symptoms of psychological problems like irritability, nervousness, addiction problems, or a change of sleeping or eating habits. Parents must watch for signs of depression and get their students help as soon as possible.
  • Look for signs of alcohol addiction. Like watching for signs of mental disorders, parents should also look for signs that their student has deep drinking habits. College is when students are finally old enough to begin drinking, which can quickly get out of hand. One out of five college students will likely suffer from alcohol use disorder, so parents must be able to intervene as soon as possible.
  • Allow students to spend time with their friends. Understandably, parents want to spend time with their students throughout the summer. However, students will likely want to reconnect with some of their high school friends or other friends from their hometown. The best thing a parent can do is not to take it personally and understand that their student wants to spend time with others.
  • Proceed to give the student independence. Students become accustomed to their new freedom and independence. Parents can still set boundaries, but it’s best to allow them to continue with their independence. Instead of enforcing strict rules, parents can enable their students some flexibility.

Source: The New York Times: Adolescence: When a College Student Is Home for the Summer

Source: NCBI: PMC: College Students: Mental Health Problems and Treatment Considerations

Coming Home for Summer

College can be an exciting time for students, and it’s an opportunity to grow and become more independent. Though students must continue their studies and advance in their desired careers, it’s also vital that students participate in other activities that’ll keep them happy, healthy, and satisfied.

College students who return home for the summer should try participating in a sport, journaling, art, hanging out with friends, visiting local attractions, traveling for leisure, or simply relaxing. Though there might be pressure for students to continue working and pursuing their academics throughout the summer, students must take a break and enjoy their time off.

One study found that summer breaks were beneficial to students because it prevented burnout and was an excellent way to help vulnerable students who are at-risk of dropping out of school.

Source: Utah State University: Summer Break’s Effects on Education

Conclusion

Most college students go home for the summer. It’s a great way to reconnect with their home city and spend time with family and friends. Summer can be a great way to land internships, study abroad, volunteer, and summer courses.

However, students in schools that follow a quarter system rather than a semester system might have a hard time spending summer and getting internships or studying abroad.

Furthermore, it’s also crucial to relax and for students to do as they please.

Returning home from college for the summer presents many outstanding opportunities, and college students should take advantage.