“The secret of getting ahead is getting started. ” – Mark Twain
Whether you are a high school student or a college student, you are on a path that can provide enormous opportunity and create background experiences that set you up for success. So, as part of the plan, begin by evaluating your needs.
As a student, there are four “needs” to consider when planning your summer. Keep in mind, your plan may include parallel paths to meet these needs.
1. Financial Need – Do you need to make money for spending cash or are you in need of making money to be able to make expenses when you return to school? Do you need to make money to pay for college? If “financial need” is a primary concern for your summer, then getting started on your pursuit of summer employment is an immediate need given the competition that will be out there.
2. Experience Need – Experience presents itself in many forms. It can be an internship, externship, or participation with an organization. Internships may be with or without pay, but the big payoff is experience with a company that can build toward future employment with them or at least the benefit of learning what you do or don’t want to do in your future. Participation with an organization may be in the form of an athletic team that helps you build skills and stats toward college or professional opportunities. Either way, the experience is your primary need and may result in a great reference.
3. Volunteer Need – This one is of particular importance to high school students but should not be dismissed by the college student. Volunteering speaks to your character. Many high schools require community service as part of their graduation requirements. Universities look at volunteerism as one element of consideration when admitting students. Companies look at your community service as an outreach and a positive extension of their own business. Assess your schedule and your need to increase volunteer capacity.
4. Education Need – Do you need to take summer courses? Does your graduation date indicate that you are on track with completing your diploma or degree on-time? Do you want to get ahead on your timeline? Assessing your summer needs for education is something that needs to be done now so that you do not miss a course enrollment deadline.