Trying to keep your mind sharp this summer? In between scholarship searches consider taking up some good reading. The school year, whether it be semesters or quarters, doesn’t reflect how post-life college functions. In the real world, work doesn’t stop when the weather is nice. And those three long summer months can affect students’ engagement with higher-level thinking – crucial for getting back to school and entering the workforce.

That is why summer reading has been recommended by so many educators as a way to keep students on track over the summer. Reading continues this engagement with higher-level thinking and creates a rhythm of learning. The main perk of summer reading is that students experience a change in intensity of reading, but not the activity of reading itself. Exercising your brain also eases the transition back to school, which saves you time re-adjusting to academic life.

When selecting your summer reads consider topics that are good for your personal development or that you’ve never learned about. For example, reading self-help books on personal finance or a political memoir can help your transition into adult life or challenge some of your personal views. Reading also inevitably improves one’s writing – great for scholarship essays.

Between scholarship applications and expanding your mind through literature, be sure to enjoy the down time. Summer breaks soon become a thing of the past once you enter the professional sphere. These breaks are precious, well deserved, and important for making memories and reconnecting with friends and family.

Read. Relax. And get those scholarships.