- 3 Ways College Students Can Make the Most of Summer Break
- Get job experience
- Explore careers
- Build your network
- 10 Things Every College Student Should Do This Summer | Big Ideas Blog
- Join the Conversation:
- 10 Ways for Students to Maximize Their College Summer Break
- 1. Apply Yourself at Your Job or Internship
- 2. Save Money
- Get a Side Hustle
- 3. Tackle a Project You’ve Been Putting Off
- 4. Read for Pleasure
- 5. Research
- 6. Work on Professional Development
- 7. Book a Last Minute Trip
- 8. Volunteer For a Cause
- 9. Bolster Your Meal Prep Game
- 10. Relax!
- Don’t worry, there’s still time to enjoy your college summer break!
- 26 Smarter Ways to Make Your College Summer Break More Productive
- Start with a College Summer Break Plan:
- Make some Much Needed Money:
- Sign up for the FREE 5-Day Start A Money Making Blog Crash Course
- Beef up Your Resume:
- Pin this post for later!
- Get Ahead of the Game:
- Related: Organize Your Life with the Only Student Printable Planner You’ll Ever Need in School
- Take some Time to Enjoy your Summer:
- Related: 34 Cheap and Fun Date Night Ideas that Won’t Break the Bank!
- Related: The Ultimate Summer Bucket List (50 Insanely Fun Activities to Try!)
- Summer is the best time to start a money-making blog. Check out the top 10 reasons you should start yours today!
3 Ways College Students Can Make the Most of Summer Break
After a long school year full of studying, tests, and other school work, it's tempting to want to take the summer off. Unfortunately, that would be a huge mistake. For a college student, summer break is a huge opportunity that can make life after college easier.
It's OK to take some days at the beach or even to take a few weeks off. Unless you go into teaching, you won't be getting summers off after you graduate, so take a little time for fun.
In addition to doing that, however, you also should use the time to invest in your future. Lay the groundwork needed to meet people and gain experiences that will ultimately get you a job.
It's fine to take some time to relax, but you also need to be productive. Image source: Getty Images.
Get job experience
Maurie Backman: I never took a summer off during college, nor did I ever take an easy job that allowed me to work a light schedule and spend the rest of my time on the beach. Rather, I pushed myself to spend my summers earning money and getting solid office experience that would put me in a better position to get hired after college.
One summer, I worked as a customer service rep. It was horrible, but my coworkers were great and the money was better than what my friends were making waiting tables. Another summer, I held down an 80-hour-a-week schedule that not only paid for my entire senior year of college but taught me some valuable skills that would eventually lead to full-time employment once I graduated.
Tempting as it may be to kick back and relax during the summer, if you have an extended break ahead of you, there's a real opportunity to set yourself up financially and career-wise.
It doesn't really matter what sort of job you do as long as you gain some nice experience to put on your resume.
You'll be more than grateful for it down the line — especially when your friends who didn't work are struggling through their post-college job searches and you're getting offers left and right.
Selena Maranjian: Sure, when the year's last semester ends, you can just get a summer job. But consider spending the summer focused on exploring possible careers.
You can certainly combine those two missions if you can nab a summer job in a field where you think you'd want to work after school. But if not, and if you can do without the income, consider volunteering in your field of interest.
Or tack on a volunteer gig on top of a regular money-earning summer job.
If you're interested in medicine, for example, you might volunteer at a hospital, where you can learn about various professions in the field and how things work.
If you're interested in law, maybe you can offer your services, pro bono, to a local law firm, in order to gain some insights and experience.
Want a career in business? You might snag an internship at a local company or if need, offer to volunteer there, perhaps, for example, doing research for the marketing department.
For best results, start thinking about how you'll spend your summer early. In the spring, make the most of your college's career planning or job placement office. Work your school's alumni network, seeking out alums who are in your field of interest or who live near you.
Talk to lots of people — even your friends' parents and your parents' friends, gathering information about all their various careers. You might stumble upon a career that you never thought of that sounds particularly appealing.
You might even end up with a mentor — or at least some connections that could be handy later.
Do research and reading into various possible careers in the summer, too, when you're not bogged down with your regular academic studies. It's easy to forget when you're in college that you're not just taking courses and socializing, you're there in large part to prepare for your working life.
Build your network
Daniel B. Kline: In many fields, it's not about your grade point average or even what you learned. Instead, you need connections to get started and it's never too early to start making those.
You can and should spend some of your summer building a network. That sounds difficult, but it can be easy if you take a measured approach.
First, identify companies you would to work at. Once you have done that reach out to people who work there explaining that you are a college student looking to enter the field. It's OK to contact human resources or to email specific people if you can find that information.
Work every angle you can. Use social media to let people know what your chosen profession is and ask if anyone can make any introductions. Look for industry events and conferences. Many offer reduced rates for college students.
Basically, get yourself out there. If you meet people and keep in touch, those contacts may be the key to getting hired when you enter the job market.
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10 Things Every College Student Should Do This Summer | Big Ideas Blog
You’ve finished all your term projects, aced all those finals (hopefully), and packed up the last of your belongings from your dorm room.
All that hard work this past semester has taken its toll, and now it’s time for a much deserved break. Summer break is upon us and images of sitting on the beach, catching up with friends, and soaking up the sun all come to mind.
But what gaining experiences that further our potential to become more marketable to employers?! Didn’t think so.
This summer, find the perfect balance of learning more about your field of study, getting work experience, while also enjoying your downtime. Let go of the stress from the academic year for the next few months and do what will benefit and advance your unique career path.
Here are the 10 things every college student should do this summer:
1. Learn a new skill to add to your resume
By learning a new skill, not only can you impress future employers, but it can also make you more marketable when you go on the job hunt. Search for industry wide programs commonly used in your field of study such as Microsoft Word, Excel, or PowerPoint, as well as Adobe Photoshop, Dreamweaver, or even a programming language, depending on what career you want to pursue.
2. Get an internship
If you’re going into your junior or senior year of college, find a great internship that can further your experience and knowledge of your industry.
With a summer internship you’ll gain insight into your field of study and also beef up your resume.
Still undecided about your career path? An internship is a great way to help you explore different career options before you dive into the job market.
“How I got an internship with MTV” http://t.co/9L4fpYgD5o (via @SUNYOswego) pic..com/mkv15Pl93y
— State U of New York (@SUNY) May 12, 2014
3. Work a summer job
If you’re not interning this summer, there’s no denying you can still find work experience and build your resume with a summer job near your home.
Call up your old boss from your part-time job in high school or search your town for places trying to fill a position.
Whether you’re working as a lifeguard or in food service, employers want to see that you have experience in a work environment and are responsible. Plus, you’ll have some extra money in your pocket.
4. Make a budget
Now that you’ve earned all this money, what do to with it? Spend it all on a shopping spree? Buy a new iPad? Whoa, take is easy. Make a budget for the next semester so you can keep track of your spending.
Set a spending limit each month for food, rent, transportation, school supplies, entertainment, and other expenses.
Talk with your parents about your financial situation and consider getting a credit card if you don’t have one already.
5. Email your professors
In the beginning of the summer, take the time to send out a few thank you emails to your professors. Think about it- your professors are all industry professionals, have extensive knowledge of potential careers, and can even be your connection to a future job, so why not send them an email this summer? A simple email can leave a great lasting impression of you.
6. Get letters of recommendation
Having an impressive letter of recommendation (or a few) is super beneficial, and sometimes required, when submitting a job application.
Get your recommendations in order this summer by asking past professors of classes you excelled in or previous employers to put your accomplishments, character, and work ethic into words.
A great letter of recommendation is both personal and could showcase your talents that can’t be inferred from a resume.
7. Catch up on reading
Unwind after a long day by sitting down with a good book. Pick out a New York Times Best Seller, an old classic, or a how-to book to open your mind and learn something new. Also, it wouldn’t hurt to catch up on some reading for one of your classes next semester. Could use some ideas? Check out this list of our ‘must-read’ books!
8. Explore New York!
Don’t have plans of going on a big, lavish vacation this summer? No problem at all. The State of New York has such a diverse landscape, there’s no need to travel far to find excitement. Hike the Adirondack Mountains, go fishing in the Finger Lakes, attend a music festival, or spend the day in New York City- you’re sure to find something the daily routine.
9. Take an online summer course
Low cost, convenience, and no commute- what’s not great about taking an online course this summer? Plus, you’ll be able to get ahead, lessen your workload for next semester, and even get on track to graduate on time. Through Open SUNY, you have access to over 5,000 SUNY courses offered this summer alone.
10. Follow SUNY and SUNYsocial on social media!
Stay updated with the latest on campus news, student life, and advice from college students on how to make the most your college experience. We’re always here to chat and answer your questions on , , and Instagram!
Which SUNY mascot are you? Take our quiz to find out!
Which SUNY mascot are you? Take our quiz to find out! http://t.co/VJbTOaabiQ pic..com/UxQ2R8Eq2d
— SUNYsocial (@SUNYsocial) May 14, 2014
Top photo via Stony Brook University on Flickr
May 15, 2014
Join the Conversation:
10 Ways for Students to Maximize Their College Summer Break
Is it just us, or is summer is flying by? Take a moment to pause and reflect on how your college summer break has gone so far. Did you imagine you would be more productive, or alternatively, get more time to relax? If you had different expectations, or just feel time is getting away from you, try out these ten tips to make the most of your summer vacay.
1. Apply Yourself at Your Job or Internship
First, consider yourself lucky if you landed a summer internship or job. Even though it might not seem it now, any employment opportunity is a valuable experience for your future.
Maybe your internship isn’t what you expected or you feel you’re just working as a server or retail worker (i.e., it’s not important).
You might also be getting restless with the end of summer nearing so you aren’t putting in as much effort.
We’re here to tell you—don’t phone it in. Apply yourself and do your best work. Not only are you honing your work ethic, but you’ll need employment references later in life. Supervisors or managers won’t give glowing reviews to lazy young adults.
2. Save Money
Even if you have a part-time job during the semester, college summer break gives you full-time availability. Take advantage of the opportunity to make and save some money.
It’s always nice to have a financial cushion for unexpected expenses or even to start building your nest egg for adult life.
Use this last part of summer vacay to ramp up your work and make extra cash before you head back to Tiger Town.
Get a Side Hustle
If you don’t have a job that allows you to work more or you have an unpaid internship, consider taking on a side hustle. There are many on-demand job options out there and not just Uber or Lyft driving.
Freelance projects are another excellent opportunity to pick up work here and there to make extra money. Many companies even need remote virtual assistance that you can do around your current schedule.
Use these websites to find side-hustles that fit with your experience and availability:
- Upwork: for freelance work, mostly professional jobs and projects
- Fiverr: another freelance job board
- Wag! or Rover: Dog-walking or -sitting platforms for animal lovers
- TaskRabbit: Run errands around your neighborhood for cash
- PeoplePerHour: A platform that matches companies that have different projects/jobs and qualified freelancers
3. Tackle a Project You’ve Been Putting Off
Have you been meaning to do something for ages and just never gotten around to it? Well, this college summer break is your chance! Take stock of old to-do lists and find projects you haven’t had time to take on and commit to finishing it by the time school starts. It can be something as simple as completing a puzzle or creating unique art pieces to hang in your new student apartment in Clemson this year.
4. Read for Pleasure
With so much course-related reading and studying for your classes, the last thing you want to do is pick up a book for fun. Use this study-detox time during the summer to read for fun! Here’s are a few lists for inspiration:
We know, we know, you don’t want to do homework on your college summer break. But how often during the school year have you found yourself distracted (by Google or Reddit) when you should be studying? Now’s the time to get that your system. Use your free afternoons to research fun things you’re curious about or productive queries relating to your future.
Use this list for suggestions and get Googling:
- Post-grad career options: What jobs actually entail (duties and responsibilities), starting salaries, which companies are hiring, etc.
- Part-time jobs: for during the semester. (Psst! We’re hiring at Epoch, check out our open positions).
- Classes: Which courses do you want to take second semester? Use this time to really explore all the options Clemson offers.
- New exercise or fitness programs: The internet has a wealth of fitness and wellness programs with unlimited free content—find and try out options that you .
- Extracurriculars, clubs or Intramural sports: Research options and load up your schedule with fun and relevant activities.
- Grad school: This is an area where much research is necessary if you’re considering a post-grad program or degree.
6. Work on Professional Development
Whether you’re a rising senior or just want to get a jump start, there’s no time the present to work on your professional development. Take some time to create or polish up your LinkedIn profile, adding relevant experience, and connecting with other students/professionals.
Consider attending networking events or mixers. Building a robust network is an invaluable resource as you progress your career. Daniel B. Kline, a writer and editor for the Boston Globe, tells Fool.com: “In many fields, it’s not about your grade point average or even what you learned. Instead, you need connections to get started and it’s never too early to start making those.”
Also, consider cleaning up your general digital presence. Did you know the 70 percent of employers use social media to pre-screen candidates before they even interview them? Spend an afternoon Googling yourself to see what comes up and delete any embarrassing/inappropriate pictures from social media.
7. Book a Last Minute Trip
You still have time to travel! Book a last minute trip before you come back to school. Resources HotelTonight can help you find cheap unbooked lodgings. We also have some travel tips in our spring break post that can be useful. Alternatively, if you want to take a local road trip, check out these fun weekend-friendly spots that are super close to Clemson.
8. Volunteer For a Cause
Use the last bits of summer to volunteer for a cause or organization that’s near and dear to your passions or interests. Even a few afternoons can make a huge difference and give you some perspective on your good fortune before returning to school. Check out this list of volunteer opportunities to find options near you.
9. Bolster Your Meal Prep Game
If you’re moving into a student apartment this fall, odds are you’re cooking for yourself and it might be your first time.
Take time over the college summer break to not only learn how to cook some basic meals but learn how to prep. Meal prepping can save you time and sanity when you have a busy student schedule and need some easy meals on the go.
Here’s a great guide to meal-prepping complete with links to several different recipes to try.
Last, but certainly not least, don’t forget to relax! Take some time for downtime. We all know the hustle and bustle of college can leave us drained and stressed. Don’t overcommit yourself and forget that vacation is also your chance to recharge before a new school year.
Don’t worry, there’s still time to enjoy your college summer break!
While summer certainly goes by fast, don’t freak out, there’s still plenty of time left to enjoy your vacay. If you happen to be spending this summer at Clemson, check out our list of fun things to do in Tiger Town.
26 Smarter Ways to Make Your College Summer Break More Productive
Summer break is back again, the weather is clearing up, and we students have some much deserved time on our hands! What do we do with ourselves? Well, there is a little known secret that what we do over summer break is really what sets us apart from the crowd when we start applying to grown-up jobs. This is where we can truly gain some much needed experience, get ahead in college credits, volunteer for a good cause, and so much more. There are countless ways to make your college summer break more productive, so let’s find out more, shall we?
This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy for more information.
Start with a College Summer Break Plan:
Quick check! Are you an incoming college freshman? If so, you should check out: 20 Essential Things to Do the Summer Before College Starts! Pair that with this post and you will be set!
Okay now before we dive in, let’s quickly talk about planning. Before you hit summer break, consider creating a summer attack plan. It doesn’t have to be intense, it could be half filled with a summer bucket list with ideas “go to the beach for a date,” and “read 10 books.
” Starting your summer with a decent attack plan will ensure you get more things done! Another great way to be more productive is to use a productivity timer, easy to use and super effective! If you have some projects you need to knock out, check out my ultimate guide to project planning (includes a freebie!).
Make some Much Needed Money:
The first few things we can do over our college summer break is get our finances in check. College is expensive! No big surprise there… So let’s get our finances in order and build up some cash for upcoming school year.
- Start a Side Hustle: Blogging is, hands down, the absolute best side hustle you can start up while in college. There are so many amazing reasons to start a blog, including the opportunity to make some serious cash and beef up your resume. It is pretty easy to set up and the summer is the perfect time to begin! Check out this post on how to start a blog and this post on the best class to take to get you going (and the only class you’ll ever need to take in the blogging world). PS: HERE is a free five-day blogging crash course offered by my favorite bloggers over at It’s A Lovely Life. Check it out!
Sign up for the FREE 5-Day Start A Money Making Blog Crash Course
- Work a Part-Time or Full-Time Job: Another great way make some money is obviously to work over the summer. Jobs with tips are a great way to quickly make money.
But jobs in your future career field are way better!
- Apply for Scholarships: Many people don’t realize this, but when applying to scholarships, you make more money by the hour than (nearly) any other job you will have in your lifetime.
Think about it, if it takes you two hours to apply for a $1,000 scholarship, and you get it, you basically just got paid $500 an hour! That is a pretty good use of time! If you’re looking for more guidance at applying for scholarships, check out this post on my 12 winning pieces of advice and this post for my ultimate #1 tip.
- Work on Grant Applications (grad students): Summer is the perfect time to start knocking out some graduate student grant applications. Especially if you are having some down time from your class and thesis work. Speaking of grad school, this post covers my top tips and resources for grad students.
- Create a Budget to get your Finances in Check: Creating a budget is absolutely the number one way to manage your money, both during and after college. I can’t stress this enough. Having some time off during summer is a great time to begin creating the perfect budget for yourself for the next year. Check out this post on how to create the perfect budget (includes a freebie!) and this post on my ultimate guide to saving money in college.
Beef up Your Resume:
Next up, let’s talk about beefing up our resume over college summer break. This is a perfect time to get some much needed experience under our belts that you wouldn’t otherwise have time for.
The good news is that many companies and organizations expect a ton of student interest during this time, so countless opportunities open up! So, how can you better your resume over college summer break? Let’s dive in.
Pin this post for later!
- Complete an Internship: The best way to get your name out there and get some serious experience built up is through internships. Unfortunately, only about half of internships are paid, which is why I highly recommend starting a blog at the same time.
Try to find a mentor, gain as much knowledge as you can, and begin networking as soon as you get there!
- Volunteer for a Good Cause: Another great way to gain some experience is to volunteer. No matter how much time you commit to, it will be incredibly beneficial no matter what.
If you’re looking for a good place to start researching local volunteer groups, start with your city call and local community groups, such as your local Lions Club.
- Study Abroad: Summer is one of the best times to study abroad.
There are countless reasons to study abroad, seeing the world, gaining some credit hours, networking, and so much more. As an added bonus, it is actually a lot cheaper than you might think.
And there are thousands of scholarships out there to help you out! If you’re interested in studying abroad, check out my ultimate guide! And, if you are in need of some inspiration on why you should absolutely study abroad, check out this post.
- Learn a New Language: Whether or not you decide to study abroad, you can absolutely learn a new language over the summer.
This is a great resume booster and is a lot of fun! You can always start with great apps the famous Rosetta Stone and even take a community college evening course! (They are surprisingly cheap and you don’t have to transfer it over to your home university if you don’t want to…)
- Begin Networking: No matter which direction your summer takes you, I recommend you setup a LinkedIn account and begin networking. I also HIGHLY recommend creating your own business cards ASAP (these are super easy to make from home!). The sooner you begin, the more you will be thanking yourself in the future.
- Join a Professional Organization: One of the best pieces of advice I have been given in college is to join a professional organization. This has increased my network ten-fold and given me career opportunities I would never have even dreamed. The good news is there are professional organizations in nearly all career fields. It might be scary at first but just begin attending monthly or weekly meetings and you will get more comfortable soon enough!
- Learn a New Career Skill: Finally, no matter which path you take through the summer, gaining a new career skill is incredibly important. This may include learning a new computer programming language, how how to use specific software that is important in your career field, or even how to simply use Microsoft Office! Research your career to see what would be best for you.
Get Ahead of the Game:
Perhaps you’re looking to get ahead in your college career over the summer. Or simply just become more prepared for the upcoming fall semester. Your college summer break is the perfect time to begin planning for your future and getting ahead in the game.
- Take some Summer Classes: Summer classes may not be incredibly popular but are a great way to get ahead in college credits. You can do this at your home university or, what I recommend, at a local community college and transfer them. You’ll save a ton of money that way! But, make sure your university allows it…
- Prepare for the Upcoming Fall Semester: You will have to eventually begin preparing for the upcoming fall semester. Be sure to check out my back to school guide, college semester preparation checklist (includes a freebie!) and student printable planner!
Related: Organize Your Life with the Only Student Printable Planner You’ll Ever Need in School
- Begin Researching Graduate Schools or Future Job Opportunities: Now is the perfect time to start researching your next move after you graduate college.
Are you heading off to grad school? Perhaps there is a new internship on the horizon? HERE is my grad school complete guide!
- Study for Future Entrance or Licensing Exams: Depending on your future plans, you may need to pass a graduate entrance exam (such as the GRE or GMAT for most grad programs, LSAT for law school, MCAT for med school and the TOEFL for international grad students). You may also need to take a licensing exam after you graduate (such as the Fundamentals of Engineering Exam for engineers). Most of these exams require a minimum of 3 months of study time… better start now!
- Research/Decide Your Future Career Path: Perhaps you haven’t chosen your career path yet and are still bouncing between majors? I know, I’ve been there. Now is a great time to look into it! Check out my Ultimate Guide to Choosing a Career for more info, and check out Now What? by Nicholas Lore, I can’t recommend it enough.
- Finally Finish a Big Project You’ve Started: Now is also a fantastic time to finally get some unfinished projects done. If you need some help with project planning, check out this post (includes a free printable project planner!).
- Experiment with a New Productivity System: A great way to get ahead is to establish a new productivity system. Check out my top tips here for some inspiration!
Take some Time to Enjoy your Summer:
Alright, your college summer break isn’t ALL about getting ahead of the game and being productive. You just finished a full year of college! You should take some time to reward yourself by actually enjoying the good weather. Here are some ideas to get you on your way.
Related: 34 Cheap and Fun Date Night Ideas that Won’t Break the Bank!
- Get Crafty: College summer break is the perfect time to get your craft on and find some cool Pinterest projects to do! My next project is to fill up my new cute summer scrapbook!
- Find a New Hobby: You can also spend some time taking on a new hobby! With hobbies, the possibilities are completely endless. Hiking? Knitting? Scrapbooking? Reading? The world is your oyster.
- Practice Stress Management: Again, summer is a great time to step back and take a break. Focus on other things than your stressful college life! Check out my favorite ways to de-stress here.
- Spend time with Family and Friends: My final tip is to spend some quality time with your family and friends. The school year can be hectic and leave you with little time to socialize. Now is a great time to catch up!
Related: The Ultimate Summer Bucket List (50 Insanely Fun Activities to Try!)
Yellowstone National Park
There you have it, my top ideas for ensuring your summer college break is productive, fun, and useful! I hope you have found a few ideas to help you get ahead of the game. You will be on your way to a successful future career in no time. Have a fun and exciting summer break!
Summer is the best time to start a money-making blog. Check out the top 10 reasons you should start yours today!