Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Alternatives to Summer Internships

by Sherry Cao, CAPS Marketing Assistant

As a first-year, I've already heard a lot about how important internships are, but I’ve also accepted that it’s pretty tough to get a Metcalf internship at this age. As I wait upon responses from other internships and opportunities, I’ve been brainstorming (with a little help from my friends, and from CAPS) alternatives to summer internships. So far, this is what I’ve come up with:

  1. Get a job and do some volunteering on the side
    Start contacting businesses to ask about working for them this summer, and don’t forget to mention that classes for us don’t start until the end of September—-this will set you apart from everyone else who has to go back to school in August. Volunteering on the side is a great way to do something that you like that you might not otherwise be able to do, and it also looks great on a resume. If you've been volunteering for the same organization for awhile, don't be afraid to ask if they have any paying positions that you might be able to fill.

  2. Take the time to travel, either around the country or internationally.
    Why, you ask? Well, why not? Not traveling is something many people regret, so make the best of your youth and get out there. Whether you want to visit all of the great Midwestern amusement parks (Wisconsin Dells, Cedar Point, Six Flags Great America…seriously, they’re great), go camping in Michigan or travel across Europe, summer is a great time to get away from all the reading and work of school and relax.

  3. On a related note, my best friends and I are in the process of planning a road trip.
    I moved away from them during my freshman year of high school, and I’m super excited to be dedicating a week of my summer to spending time with them. We’re not quite sure where we’re going yet, but using this time to catch up is great, especially when none of our schedules match up during the school year.

  4. Contacting alumni in your area through the Alumni Career Network is always a great way to broaden your horizons.
    Check out the Alumni Career Network on to find alumni who are doing something that you're interested in. E-mailing and networking with alumni is a great way to learn about what their UChicago education has done for them, and it may even inspire you to do something similar. These alumni have volunteered to dedicate their time to at least talking to curious students, so be polite, but also satisfy your curiosity and network!

  5. Start your own business!
    I did something like this with my friend last summer--we made flyers, talked to our neighbors and eventually had a little tutoring business going. It was nothing too big, but various family friends asked us to tutor their elementary and middle school students. It’s a great way to stay busy, earn some extra money and keep your brain fresh and active.

If you need help coming up with more ideas, or want to talk to someone about how to get started with a summer job/internship/research project, come visit us!


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Jonathan said...

I definitely agree on the mini-business thing. Another, similar alternative is to just put yourself and your skills out in the market and see what you can get. I made north of $1000 during junior year tutoring middle-school kids in Math and English.

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