Mid-December officially marks the beginning of winter, and in many parts of the country the winter cold is settling in. Summer may seem very far away right now – for both you and your college student. While you may just want to settle in by the fire and hibernate, this may actually be a good time for your college student, or soon-to-be college student, to give some thought to those lazy, hazy days of summer.
It is often difficult to plan ahead when there is still a full semester between your student and summer, but here are eight things your student might work on now to make the summer months more meaningful.
- The winter months are often a good time to begin to look for a summer job – or first job after college. If your student waits until he returns home in May, or even waits until spring break in March, some prime summer jobs may already be gone. Your student can use this time to investigate possibilities, make contacts, fine tune a resume, and clean-up his online presence for the job hunt.
- Perhaps even more than summer jobs, summer internships can fill early and quickly. If your student has a particular summer internship in mind, this is a good time to find out the details of the application process and to get started. If your student doesn’t yet have an internship in mind, but would like to participate in one this summer, winter is a time to search for possibilities and to work with the college Career Office.
- Perhaps your student is thinking about taking one or two classes this summer – either to get ahead or to make up some credits. Although specific summer classes may not be listed yet, your student can use some of the winter time to check her requirements to see what she needs. If she is planning to take classes at another institution, perhaps somewhere closer to home, she should investigate the process of enrolling at the institution and also the process of transferring credit to her own school. Once specific classes are available later in the spring, she will be ready to sign up.
- If your student lives on campus, she will likely need to move out of her current room at the end of the spring semester. Will she bring all of her belongings home or leave some at school? Is there storage space available on campus? If not, this may be a good time to investigate the possibilities of off-campus storage. She can locate storage facilities, compare prices, perhaps find other students who might share a unit, and even reserve space before it disappears.
- Will your student be making a transition this summer? If your student will be heading off to college for the first time, graduating from college and moving home or into an apartment, or leaving for a study abroad or study away experience, winter may not be too early to begin thinking about what will be needed to make the transition. Should your student be looking for a place to live? Applying for financial aid for graduate school? Obtaining a passport? Anything completed now will not need to be accomplished at the last minute.
- Perhaps your student would like to spend part of the summer on his campus – working on research, serving as an Orientation Leader or Residence Assistant, conducting Admission tours, or serving in some other capacity. Applications for these positions are often due early. Your student should investigate now what is needed and when all deadlines are.
- Perhaps your student is in a position to be able to use the summer months to travel. If so, now may be the perfect time to make plans and reservations. Planning ahead can save on costs and guarantee space in special programs or tours.
- This may be an ideal time for your student to do some financial planning for summer. Whether she plans to work, to intern, to travel, or to volunteer, she may need to give thought and plan ahead for the financial realities. Planning now may make the difference of whether she can carry out her plans when summer arrives.
The winter months can be a great time to put plans into place for summer. Talking to your student now about his plans will help him think through what he might need to do – but it may also provide you a wonderful way to learn more about his hopes and plans.