As we get closer to spring, an ever-present question is, “Where are you spending your spring break?” While it might be tempting to head for the local beaches or those in Cancun, take a moment to consider something fairly new, but growing in popularity. Alternative spring breaks give high school and college students another option to channel surfing for a week. Instead, students are travelling near and far to volunteer their time and expand their minds. As nice as it would be to say colleges don’t care what you do on your spring break, they do. Impress them, and yourself, with an experience that will help you grow as a student and as a person.



United Way and Alternative Spring Break

This is the most popular choice by far is volunteering. You can stay close to home with a one or two day project, or take the week to travel somewhere new and really get into the community. Looking to stay close to home? Options nearby include Habitat for Humanity and U.S. National Parks. If you are looking for more of a get-away, take a look at i-to-i and GVI. These volunteer trips take a bit more planning, but the experience will stay with you for life. Planning a journey with friends is an even better way to enjoy your break and donate your time. If you’re not the planning type, last minute options are available too. Websites like Volunteer Match and Idealist allow you to search your zip code for upcoming local projects.


If you’re already involved in volunteering during the year, you may want to look into other options. For instance, internships are a quick and easy way to learn about a career you’ve been thinking of. Do you have career possibilities in mind? Ever wanted to know what it would be like to work somewhere? You have an entire week to try out your dream job, so use it wisely! Utilize websites like InternMatch or contact the Human Resources office of the company you’re interested in to see if they offer internships or job shadowing. This way you’ll be able to see if your dream job is really as exciting as you imagined.

Not only should you explore career options during this time off, but enjoying hobbies is
important too. What sounds interesting to you: photography, dance, computer game design? Keep an eye out for short courses or workshops. Many community centers, teen programs, and colleges host workshops for local youth. Last, but certainly not the least important option, is test preparation. During the year, it may be tough to fit a SAT or GRE prep class in with school, sports and life. Use this free time to get the hard studying out of the way. This way you can really focus studying each day, and take the afternoons off to relax. Ultimately, one spring break donated to studying could mean getting into the college you really want.

Parties come and go, but your resume stays with you for a while. Take the opportunity to grow as a person and increase your chances of that dream college or career by making good choices this coming spring break. You never know where new experiences will take you!

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