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How to Make Summer Meaningful in the Age of COVID — Advice from a Former Stanford InterviewerShari Bender
As quarantine continues to change our lives at home, school and work, it’s likely your student is facing some serious difficulties making a plan.
Maybe they'd landed a fabulous internship but it's been canceled. Or the summer job they were counting on is in a "non-essential" industry that's had to temporarily shut down.
As everyone struggles to adjust and regroup, your student may not know how to move forward. If they're having a hard time finding a job or internship, or would simply rather wait to look for an in-person experience when the economy begins to reopen, there are plenty of things they can do in the meantime to prepare for the job search.
Your student may have been looking forward to developing new skills during an internship, but they can still use this time to learn new skills albeit in a slightly different environment. There are many fantastic free online resources that they can take advantage of, and taking the time to build up their skill set is vital to being a competitive candidate when they apply for jobs down the road.
EdX is a particularly helpful resource for this, and offers free courses from university partners — they even provide a verified certificate upon completion of a course for a fee. There are courses on everything from computer science to sign language. EdX was founded by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Harvard University, and has a huge list of other prestigious schools that contribute to the platform.
Verified certifications are an excellent way for students to provide proof of their skills to potential employers. LinkedIn Learning is especially useful for this as they will link completed courses in your student’s LinkedIn profile as a verified skill for employers to see. LinkedIn Learning is currently offering a free month-long trial to new users and has many different skills to explore.
For students who aspire to work in the tech world and seek skills related to digital marketing and web development, Udacity is offering free access for one month to their programs, from artificial intelligence to business acquisition courses. While their courses generally take more than a month, this could be a good opportunity for your student to experience their programs and decide if it’s right for them.
Does your student want to learn a specific coding language? Codecademy prides itself on their net native approach to education and offers all their basic courses for free, including interactive lessons and daily practice. For a monthly payment, your student can gain access to their members-only content, real world projects and peer support platforms.
For those interested in a creative field, YouTube is the preferred learning platform. There are countless video tutorials for everything in the Adobe Creative Suite, and it can be helpful to explore the creative alternatives to Adobe as well.
Many creatives have started to branch out from Adobe Creative Suite, looking for better or cheaper alternatives. Some love Affinity which offers Affinity Designer, Affinity Photo and Affinity Publisher as rivals to Adobe’s Illustrator, Photoshop and InDesign apps. Graphic artists are also loving Procreate for digital art, which can serve as both a helpful professional skill and a fun personal hobby.
If your student is unsure of what exactly they would like to study during this time, Open Culture offers a wide variety of free online courses from public speaking to geography, all taught by university professors. Their course list is quite extensive and your student is sure to find something that sparks their interest.
Encourage them to consider everything, and try something new if they’re feeling stuck right now. There’s a benefit to having a diverse range of skills at their disposal and they just might discover a new passion or career path.
It’s time to celebrate with the perfect gift for your new grad!