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Advice for New College Students From a Recent GradCambria Pilger
This is not going to be a typical college summer.
Your student may already have had an internship, undergraduate research project, or study abroad experience canceled. Maybe they didn’t have plans yet but hoped to get a summer job and fit in some fun travel. But now local businesses aren’t hiring, and it’s likely your student won't be traveling anywhere.
Look on the bright side! Universities across the country are offering more and more online options for summer. Whether it be a remote internship position or new online class options, your student can still make the most of their summer online.
Colleges and universities have quickly re-configured their summer academic offerings and many have also implemented some new online summer options. Encourage your student to broaden their search and look for new opportunities as they become available. Their dream program may even be offered at a discounted price since there will no longer be a pricey residential component.
University career advisors are all still available to help and most offer online appointments to help students find the right opportunities.
This is the perfect chance for your student to experience courses from another university or even from another part of the world!
The University of Chicago has transitioned their summer programs to online learning, making it an easy choice for students anywhere. If your student is pursuing a degree in business, why not broaden their network and heighten their analytical skills with UChicago’s Summer Business Scholars Program? For math lovers interested in finance, UChicago is also offering their Summer Financial Math Program online, presenting a great chance for your student to dive into math, statistics and programming as they relate to the finance industry.
To find online summer courses at any university, your student can start with a simple Google search to see what classes are available. If they’re not sure what university’s courses would suit them best, have them check out some accredited online colleges.
They should take care to do thorough research on university requirements if they plan to transfer summer course credits to their resident university degree. Transferring credits can be tricky; your student should tread cautiously and make sure they know exactly what to expect when transferring credits.
If your student had their heart set on an internship or work experience this summer, many companies are offering remote alternatives during this time. Encourage your student to look into different applications online and reach out to their favorite companies to ask if there are any opportunities that would be suitable.
An online internship is a good chance to explore new career possibilities. For example, if your STEM major's summer UROP project was canceled because the university lab is closed, but they also happen to love writing, they could have some fun and find their voice in a writing internship.
Though a remote position won't be the same as an in-person one, your student can still learn so much from these experiences and build valuable connections they can use later — maybe they’ll even discover that they work best remotely.
...But is suspended in a state of uncertainty and they’re having trouble finding clarification, suggest they check this nifty site designed by students facing similar issues. This website crowd-sources information from companies and other students on the status of different internships and lists companies that are actively hiring.
Of course, even with all their hard work, it's possible a new internship or job just isn’t in the cards right now.
If they’re feeling stagnant and discouraged, and would be happiest doing something that can help them solidify their future job prospects, there are other ways they can use this time to strengthen their resumes.
Nudge them towards these online resources to build their skills and become more competitive candidates in the future, and have them check out these other tips on prepping for the job search while in quarantine.
There’s always more to summer break than school and work. Your student could also use this time to pursue a new passion or give back to their community.
There is always a need for volunteers, even during a pandemic when people are social distancing. The website Volunteer Match can help your student find a volunteer position in with organizations focused on health, animal welfare, technology, youth services and more.
If advocacy is their passion, they can become online advocates and start petitions for issues that are important to them. Change is an easy to use online platform built exclusively to help advocates start online petitions.
If your student is itching to make some money this summer, they can still do this from the safety of home by becoming an online tutor. What better way to brush up on their favorite subjects than to teach someone else about it? Your student can browse online tutoring positions on Tutors — all they have to do when they find a job that interests them is to create a profile to apply. They can start as soon as they want and work with students from elementary to college ages, anywhere in the country.
Don't forget summer's also supposed to be relaxing! Though their options may seem rather limited with social distancing in place, there are many ways to have fun at home. We have recommendations for everything — reading lists, movies and TV to watch, crafts, board game nights and online games!
College move-in is approaching! Help your student prepare by making sure they have everything they need for a successful freshman year.