Ah, winter break is here. And that sound you hear? That’s the sound of millions of college students snapping their books shut as soon as their last final ends.

But for many of them, there’s no such thing as a winter “break,” because learning continues beyond the exam room and outside the confines of campus.

For example, many students we know are spending their hard-earned vacation:

  • Volunteering. Both at home and abroad, at least 30% of undergraduate students add valuable experience to their resumes and, more importantly, give back to their communities, through volunteer programs.
  • Studying. This one may be a little hard to believe, but it’s true. There are even entire subreddits dedicated to vacation study tactics.
  • Working. At least 70% of today’s college students combine work with study. For the most part, this is a response to the financial burden of college, but it also helps them gain valuable real-world career and people skills that enable long-term success. Winter break internships or seasonal, part-time jobs provide another avenue for them to do that.
  • Building portfolios. Creating an online portfolio or resume can be overwhelming, especially if it’s put off until after graduation. Students who tackle this task in bits over time are more prepared to jump into their career once they’ve earned their degree.
  • Applying for scholarships. Higher education is one of the largest investments young people make these days, and two-thirds of students report feeling overwhelmed with financial planning for college, and 34% of those students say they neglect their studies because they’re so worried. Scholarships and grants can relieve some of this burden, and many students rely on these to help them finish school.

How you can help

You may find that some students are reaching out to you asking how they can use their time effectively over their break. When in doubt, encourage them to get or stay involved in their community, and refine their resume and portfolio.

Here are a few resources you can send their way:

Of course, there’s no reason they shouldn’t enjoy some R&R, too, but if they’re engaged in their learning, they won’t be able to stay away for too long.