Fourteen weeks away from classes sounds like a godsend to most college students, but summer vacation can also lead to a lot of wasted time. Here are five ways to make sure your summer vacations are productive and equip you for your future plans.
If you are going back home for the summer, it’s likely you have a summer job from your days in high school already lined up. While returning to a job you had in high school might seem like a step backward, having savings and extra money to pay for tuition, room and board, rent or groceries will benefit you in the long run.
Plus, you’re bound to make more money working full-time and living at home for free than at a summer internship that might require relocation and may not even be paid.
Get career experience
Getting a good summer internship in your chosen field is a tricky process. But, it is perhaps one of the most beneficial uses of your summer vacation.
It’s best to start the application process early. The typical peak for internship applications to open is in February, but some companies start their application process as early as October. Therefore, winter break or earlier is a good time to start researching companies and filling out applications if you want to get ahead of your peers.
It is also important to start applying to internships early in your college career. You don’t have to be an upperclassman to land a great internship, and it certainly doesn’t hurt to learn about the application process early on.
Another important point — searching for an internship is time consuming, but it doesn’t have to be grueling. Once the semester gets rolling, give up a weekend to search, and do it with roommates and friends. Make a date out of it!
Here are some good ways to start the search:
Google jobs: Just a simple google search can show you a plethora of internship openings. Although, the amount of information can be overwhelming, so make sure you narrow your search as much as possible.
Learn from the people around you: At a university, you are surrounded by students who are going through the same process as you. Upperclassmen can give you a first-person account of the internships they have completed. Additionally, faculty and academic advisers have seen a lot of students come and go with internships and can inform you about opportunities.
Still can’t find any openings after going through all of that? Reach out anyway. If there is a company you really want to work for, reach out to them and tell them why. They may have a role for you to fill or opportunities for you further down the road.
What if you’re broke but can’t find a summer job or internship? Don’t panic. There are still ways to make money over the summer, here are a few:
Babysitting: You can sign up at websites like Care.com and find local people who need babysitters. Or, if you have a lot of friends with young children, offer your services by word-of-mouth.
Dog sitting: If you love dogs and want to make money hanging out with them, you can use websites and apps like Rover.com to manage your dog-sitting schedule and broaden your clientele.
Community: If you are part of a church or another community-based organization, there are plenty of jobs to do if you ask around. Landscaping or painting are pretty grueling tasks in the summer heat; therefore, people might be willing to pay for someone else to do those tasks.
Taking summer courses is an excellent option for students looking to get general courses out of the way; however, the price is often upsetting. Summer classes at BGSU — a school known for being inexpensive — cost $379 per credit hour if the student takes fewer than 12 credit hours (the price is the same for online classes).
But there are options that make summer classes less expensive. For instance, community colleges are cheaper and offer some general courses that will transfer to BGSU. But, not all courses are transferable; therefore, it is important to check with the BGSU Office of Admissions before attending a separate university over the summer.
Put aside time to reflect and plan
As college students, we have a lot of planning to do and not a lot of time to do it. So, take some time this summer to think about your future, read, do some yoga or start a journal. You’ll thank yourself when you return to your busy schedule in the fall.