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What is the Best Use of Your Summer?


One of the keys to getting into selective colleges, and earning scholarships is a wise use of summer.
Well, May is now here, and many people are asking the question "what is the best use of my summer this year?"
Be sure to use some of the summer to recover from burnout. The episode I referenced in the podcast is found here.

This is the episode about how summer camps impact college admissions.

But the MOST effective thing you can do is to clarify your core values, and begin making your community better as you align your daily choices with your core values.
Listen in to learn more about how to do that, and how I can help you.


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What is the Best Use of Your Summer?




Welcome back to season two of the Ivy League Prep Academy Podcast. Equipping you to successfully pursue the college of your dreams. We believe everyone deserves to reach their full potential, and the admissions process shouldn't hold you back.


I've been asked three times in the last 24 hours the same question, and that's an unusual amount of times for this question. But this is a common question that I'm sure many others are thinking but just haven't reached out to me to ask. And that is what is the best use of this summer for my teenager? So whether you're a teenager or whether you're a parent of teens, let's talk about that.


I've spoken at length about many things that can happen during a summer. For example, one of my podcasts was about how we should use our breaks in between semesters for recovery. And if you're at a stage of burnout or overwhelm because of your schoolwork, it will be important to use some time to recover.


I strongly recommend that you go and listen to that episode. The name of that podcast is how to Recover from Burnout, and it aired on December 19, 2022. Another thing that a lot of parents and a lot of teens are considering is going to a college or even a local high school or a community college to do some kind of summer program.


And I think that that can be an incredible opportunity. It can also be a complete waste of time and money. It depends on a number of different factors, actually.


The question, Should I go to X? Summer program? Is a pretty complicated question, and it deserves a more nuanced answer. So I actually dedicated an entire podcast to that as well. It's Episode 64 from January 31, 2022, and it's called How Summer Programs Impact College Admissions.


I think that would be an excellent resource to listen to for that. The bottom line, though, for me, those of you who follow my work and know who I am, you know that this is not going to be a surprise. I think the most important thing you can do with your summer, if you haven't done it yet, is to figure out your own core values, figure out what drives you the most so that you can align your daily choices with those core values.


Especially in 8th grade, 9th grade, 10th grade, during that time frame, where so many people are insecure and so many teens are just trying to figure out how they should fit in, trying to figure out so much about who they are and how they can interact with their peers and with the community. That is such an important time to figure out what matters most to you, to figure out your core values. And so I truly believe I know I'm biased, but I truly believe that figuring out your core values is the most important work you can do.


And that's true whether you're a teenager or an adult. I think adults can spend some time figuring out their core values also because that level of self awareness empowers you to make better choices. And when you can make better choices, you live a more meaningful and more enjoyable life.


Now, once you figure out your core values and you're empowered to make better choices, then the excitement begins because now you can use your summer to do something really special. If you're really curious, for example, about some academic topic, then you can spend your summer doing research. You can identify an issue in that body of academic work and begin to explore the edges of that.


You could work with a professor, work with an entire research team, or you can join a community of experts. There are any number of ways that you can explore that process of how do I do research? In this one key field, of course, we have email templates and scripts and the entire process that you use to do the outreach to find those people to help you with the research in the Ivy League Challenge, which I'll talk about in just a second, but I'm getting ahead of myself. In addition to the opportunity to spend the summer exploring your academic curiosity, you can also use that summer to find problems in your community that violate your core values, these values that you spent some time figuring out so that you can begin the process of working to solve that problem that violates your core values.


This becomes really powerful because think about the process that you're going through. Think about all that you're learning as you work to solve a real problem in the real world, as you work to right a wrong or to raise awareness of some injustice that's occurring. As you do that, what do you learn? Of course, you learn resilience because you begin to figure out how naive you once were about the problem and how difficult it might be to solve.


But beyond the resilience and the grit, which is just beautiful and wonderful to develop, you also develop leadership skills and problem solving skills. You develop a greater self awareness with metacognition and empathy building. You develop communication skills both for professional communication and also for interpersonal communication and how to handle all these different personalities.


Along the way, you learn how to identify opportunities and identify resources and how to pull together those resources and leverage them in strategic ways to solve a problem. In short, you learn the skills that are necessary to then become a problem solver. Interestingly enough, plenty of people want to develop those skills, but they see their role right now in life as a teenager as being something different.


They see themselves as someone who's in the process of preparing for college so that they can later on become qualified. And then once they're qualified, they can come back and solve that problem in the real world. But of course, I recommend that you spend this summer working to solve that problem.


Because it doesn't matter if you begin when you're 15 or if you wait until you're 50. You will not have the skills that I just described. The leadership, the communication, the problem solving, the self efficacy, all those different empathy, all those things that we talked about.


You don't develop those skills until you develop the skills. You don't develop them until you actually do the thing that builds those skills. That's how you learn.


And if you learn it when you're younger, then you're empowered to take on opportunities that pass your way even while others around you are going to let them slip by. They won't even recognize the opportunities because they won't see the world the way you do, because they've been spending their time preparing for some other day when life is about to begin, right? When the important stuff begins. They're in high school, working really, really hard to prepare for college.


Well, you're not. You're in high school working really, really hard to solve problems that matter to you. And in the process, you're developing an awareness and a set of skills that empower you to continue to be a problem solver, which empowers you to be exactly the kind of person that universities want, right? So, ironically, you're doing a better job preparing for college than the people who are working really, really hard to prepare for college.


Now, for those who know me, who have listened to my podcast, all of this sounds familiar because what am I doing? I'm describing the Ivy League Challenge, the course that I teach, that I love, that I've dedicated my life to, that empowers teens to figure out their core values and then begin to make a difference, a real difference in the real world. And the Ivy League challenge is opening. Our next cohort will be the summer cohort.


It's opening on July 20, and I'm talking about it so early for two reasons. Number one, because I know that sometimes plans are made at about this time and it's important to figure out how you're going to make the best use of your summer. But number two, because there is an early registration bonus.


The reason why I am delaying the summer cohort until July 20 is because this summer I've been invited to be a teaching fellow for a leadership course at Harvard. And I'm thrilled about this course. I'm really excited.


But it's my first time joining this professor to teach this class that was actually my favorite class during my master's degree. And so I'm really excited about being a teaching fellow and being on campus and being able to teach this leadership class. But also it's my first time and I don't know what to expect.


And so I'm not scheduling a bunch of Ivy League Challenge activities and classes during that time. Instead, we'll begin July 20, which is really late compared to normal summer schedules as a result, what I've decided to do is offer one on one coaching sessions so that you can make the most of your summer, even though we don't begin the Ivy League Challenge until the middle of July. So for those who are registering right now, there's a couple of months before July.


And so for those people I'm meeting once a month with their teens. So for those parents who are ready, who know that they want their child to join the Ivy League Challenge this summer, we will be meeting beginning on July 20, that's a Thursday from eight to 10:00 P.m. Eastern time, and we will meet every week for twelve weeks.


Of course, after those twelve weeks, we will continue to meet twice a month, once a month for the Impact Project Support Workshop that's with all of the alumni of the Ivy League Challenge, everyone will join the community. And for nine months, that community involvement is already covered in the initial tuition, and we'll also do a master class once a month for those remaining nine months as well. So we'll be meeting at least twice a month, or we'll have opportunities for your teen to continue to join us and be engaged in the community.


There's also a system in place now that did not exist previously, where teens mentor other teens. So those teens who have executed a very impressive Impact Project mentor other teens through those starting stages as they go through what I call the starter stage of the Ivy League Challenge, which is really, really exciting. It's wonderful.


And that will all be included in that community engagement that occurs for twelve months. So once you begin, which is July 20, that will be 2023, and you'll continue to be a member of the community all the way until July 20, 2024, and hopefully you'll continue to do that beyond it's, a low monthly fee. After that, it's 1999, a month after that time, if you want to continue in the community, and many of you will.


But I'm excited to announce this so early on my podcast because this is the best use of your summer. When you register, if you register early, you'll receive access to the entire digital course and all of the digital resources. And you and I will schedule a one on one call where I will go through your ambitions and your summer plan, and we'll talk about how to make the most of that.


Whether it's using my tools in phase three, the templates and the scripts that you use to reach out and find professors to do research with, or whether it's something else, whether you want to begin some other project that is aligned with what we teach in the Ivy League challenge. And you want me to help you with that? We'll get you started, and I'll make sure you're familiar with all the resources that are available to you. As soon as we do that first one on one call, and we'll schedule the second one at your convenience.


If you want to have two right away, we can do those two right away. Or if you want to wait until after the AP exams, which I know everyone's in the middle of those. We've got another week or so of AP exams.


You want to wait until the exams finish, or the IB exams, which finish a little bit later, whatever the case may be, we'll schedule those one on one calls according to your schedule and make sure that you have everything you need to make the most of this summer. And then when July 20 comes around, you'll join us in the cohort of the Ivy League Challenge. Our summer cohort should be our best ever for a number of reasons.


We've grown and expanded and improved so many of the systems that allow for teenagers to be empowered to create a really effective impact project. So I hope that you will join us. I anticipate that this summer cohort will fill up.


And so if you want to make sure that you are in that cohort and you can take advantage, then it's a good idea to register early, especially if you'd like to take advantage of one on one calls at no additional tuition. So I hope you can do that in order to register. Go to Tilc to register, or you go to my website,,


and at the very top it says, choose your plan or learn more. You can go to that registration page, learn all about it, and choose the plan at the bottom. There are two options, really, that include one on one support with me.


If you register early. The one option is the regular cohort, and it would include two free phone calls with me before July 20 when that begins, and the other is the accelerated course, which, of course, includes four additional one on one calls with me throughout the course of the Ivy League Challenge. Throughout that year when we're working together.


And one thing that I think is exciting is either way, we will be able to meet one on one. I'll be able to meet all of the students who register early, even before that cohort begins, which is really exciting to me. That's actually my favorite thing.


My favorite part of the Ivy League Challenge is meeting these incredible teenagers and helping them get to the stage where they understand their core values and they build the kind of confidence that can only come from courageously aligning your daily choices with those core values. So I'm really excited to work with your teens. If you have questions, reach out to me directly.


Schedule a call on my calendar at Tilc. T o meet that's tilc, which stands for the Ivy Leaguechallenge. T-O-M-E-E-T.


That will take you to my calendar. And you can schedule a call directly with me or just go and register. And when you do, I will set up those strategy calls together one on one.


Me and your teenager can't wait to see you this summer. The best use of this summer is to figure out those core values and create a meaningful community impact that's aligned with those core values. I can't wait to help you do it.


Join us at the Ivy or go to Tilc to register. We'll see you there.


You music for this episode came from we are here by declare P. I'm Steve Gardner. If you like what you heard, please subscribe and share with a friend.


Thanks for listening.