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Making Summer Count: Internships, Volunteering and Summer School

Habitat for Humanity in Jefferson CityFor many high school students the countdown to summer and their impending AP exams is in full swing. But, if these students want to squeeze in even more enrichment opportunities into their summer plans they need to get going now.

Mark Babbitt, CEO of You Tern, and Jessica Hertz, Manager of Online Services, for University Language Services, discussed with #CollegeChat attendees how to enrich their summer through internships, volunteering, and summer school. Both believe that by pursuing enrichment opportunities students will be benefitting themselves in the long term. According to Hertz, “College admissions officers want to see applicants who are involved in extracurricular. Plus you can explore new interests and try new things.”

Babbitt concurs.”In today’s ultra competitive job market, job seekers need an advantage. Good grades, even a degree, won’t cut it for most.”

How to Research Summer Enrichment Opportunities

Start your search locally. Babbitt recommends students interested in internships, job shadowing or volunteering should start their search at their high school. He recommends students look into what local businesses and non profits already have relationships with their school. Hertz added, “If there is an organization that you love, ask them if they have internships and or volunteer opportunities.”

Sam Coren, tweeting for Student Advisor, a Washington Post site for all things college, suggests students check out Teen Life and their “excellent listing of college summer programs.” Another source to check out is on the College Board web site at “5 Ways to Stay on Track in Summer.”

Network, Network, Network to Find Internships

Most people think of college students when they think of internships. But according to Babbitt, internships aren’t just for college students anymore. You Tern has helped many high school students find internships. He also recommends that students check out Idealist.org. Once a student finds a company to intern for Babbitt recommends the student make sure to check out the company’s Facebook page, Twitter account, and what is being said about that company on social media sites LinkedIn and Glassdoor.com. Babbitt believes it is more important about what is being said about a company in social media than what a company is saying about itself in its annual report.

“The best way to find internships is to ask around and be persistent,” said Hertz.  “Find a company or organization you love and ask.” Shonda Goward, a college admissions advisor and founder of First Generation University, agreed. “Don’t forget to ask your high school administrators. If they see you’re motivated they may help you find an internship.”  And don’t forget your family and friends. High school internships typically come from family and friends according to Goward.

“Networking, networking, networking,” said Babbitt. “And shoot for a paid internship versus working at Target or Taco Bell.” Once you have an internship offer “ask for expectations, hours and the job description before accepting,” recommended Priscilla from Weekend in Paris.

And if a student ends up in a bad internship he should leave advised John Carpenter, an educational consultant.

Check Locally First for Volunteering

The same tactics that students use to find internships can also be used to find volunteering opportunities. Look to those you know, to your school and then your local community.  “Think about what matters to you and volunteer in that,” advises Hertz. “Are you an animal lover? Try the humane society. Is art your thing? Be a docent at a gallery. Are you a math whiz? Try volunteering to tutor young kids.”

Coren recommends high school students check out Charity Navigator to find well run non-profit organizations to volunteer at. Don’t worry too much about how much time you have to volunteer. “If you only have five hours a week to volunteer and the organization is ok with that, than five hours it is. If you can do ten hours a week even better,” said Hertz.

Check out Summer School Programs Close by, Online and at Dream School

High school students have a multitude of options for summer school. Check out high school summer school classes, junior college classes, online classes offered by junior colleges, four year schools and even online colleges. Hertz added, “Community college will usually be the most economical. Taking college classes can be a great way to try a subject your high school doesn’t offer. However, students need to be wary of online programs. Some are good but many are not.”

High School students should also look into summer programs that are offered by colleges they are interested in attending says Fuji Fulgueras, a college admissions counselor. However, Babbitt added, “Consider the needs and type of student first. Sending a high school junior off to Stanford can be intimidating and bad for confidence.”

If earning credits in summer school is important, students need to make sure they can either get credits approved by their high school or the class is accepted by the four year college they are interested in attending. Coren advised, “If transferring credits is important than stay general; calculus isn’t as sexy as a foreign film class but every college has it.”

However, if credits aren’t important, “take a class act that interests you and don’t worry about the credit,” said Hertz. For as Carpenter pointed out, “Good summer experiences don’t have to be expensive. Volunteer work, shadowing, four weeks on a job with a mentor all can be great.”

What suggestions do you have for teens looking to make their summer count?

College and Internship Experts to Discuss Summer Enrichment Tips for High School Students on #CollegeChat February 7

The Sun at Solstice

Although summer is officially more than four months away, many teens and their families are beginning to consider how to spend their summers.  Mark Babbitt, CEO YouTern, and Jessica Hertz, Manager of Online Services, University Language Services, will discuss with Twitter attendees summer enrichment tips for high school students during #CollegeChat February 7, 2012 at 9 p.m. ET.

During #CollegeChat, Babbitt and Hertz will describe what types of summer opportunities teens can participate in including:

  • Low cost summer enrichment programs
  • Internships
  • Volunteering
  • High school summer school
  • Online learning
  • Community college classes
  • Four year college and university summer classes

Mark Babbitt is the founder and CEO of YouTern, a community dedicated to matching the best young talent to leading organizations including startups through internships. A passionate supporter of Gen Y talent, Mark is a serial entrepreneur and mentor. Mark has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, Mashable, Forbes and Under30CEO regarding internships, higher education’s role in preparing emerging talent for the workforce and career development. Recently, Mark was honored to be named to GenJuice’s list of “Top 100 Most Desirable Mentors”.

Jessica Hertz has been working at University Language Services since she graduated from college five years ago. University Language Services helps students and applicants make the most of their college experience, from application to graduation. Free online guides and the ULS blog, Campus Commons, give students in-depth information to help them determine where to apply to college, how to get accepted and what to do to succeed. University Languages comprehensive services for students also include SAT prep and professional resume writing for internships and jobs.

About #CollegeChat

#CollegeChat is a live bi-monthly conversation intended for teens, college students, parents, and higher education experts on Twitter. #CollegeChat takes place on the first and third Tuesday of the month at 6 p.m. PT/ 9 p.m. ET. Questions for each #CollegeChat edition can be sent to Theresa Smith, the moderator of #CollegeChat via http://Twitter.com/collegechat , by entering questions online on the CollegeChat Facebook page at http://ht.ly/1XIqV , or by email. More detailed information about signing up for Twitter and participating in #Collegechat can be found at http://pathwaypr.com/how-to-participate-in-a-twitter-chat .

8 Steps to Land Your Dream Internship

the red door
Creative Commons License photo credit: marfis75

In less than three months college students across the country will begin their summer internships which will likely be a boon for their future employment opportunities.  According to National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), 70 % of those who intern are offered full time employment either by the company or through their network.

If you haven’t started looking for your summer internship, now is the time to get cracking according to Emily Bennington, founder of Professional Studio 365 and author of  “Effective Immediately: How to Fit In, Stand Out, and Move Up at Your First Real Job”.  During a recent #Collegechat, Bennington recommended the following steps to students to land their dream internships.

Start early. Students should start their search for an internship at least two to three months before they would like to begin. So, if you are interested in having an internship beginning in June, you need to start looking by March.

Make a list. Students should start with their dream companies and expand from there. Bennington recommends students have at least 25 companies on their initial list. Mark Babbit, CEO of Youtern,  added, “Once you have a list of dream companies, check out their competitors. Their competitors may be more dynamic and welcoming.”

Identify target internships. According to Bennington, the Internet is a great place for students to research internships. Bennington recommends students check out Intern Queen,  an online internship destination that helps students find and apply for internships while also educating them on how to make the most of their experiences. Bennington also recommends that students check out Internships.com, which describes itself as the world’s largest marketplace for internships. Interested in a social media internship? Internships.com lists 3651 available internships in social media alone including one with Charlie Sheen. Youtern is another resource that according to Babbitt, ”Focuses on mentor-based internships where those entering the workforce contribute right away.”

Twitter is another great social media source for looking for both jobs and internships according to Bennington. She recommends students check k out the tweets of http://twitter.com/#!/jobhuntorg.  Job-hunt.org maintains a list of the “Top 50 Employers Recruiting on Twitter” at http://www.job-hunt.org/job-search-news/2009/06/09/top-50-employers-recruiting-on-twitter/.  MonsterCollege –http://twitter.com/#!/monstercollege – is another great resource on Twitter and at http://college.monster.com/education for both college students looking for internships as well as graduates looking for jobs.

Students should also look for internships through their own personal networks including family, friends, and social media contacts including those on LinkedIn. And last but not least, don’t forget to utilize your college’s Alumni network in your search. After all, they have been there and done that.

Take an internship predictor test. For students not sure what kind of internship to look for, check out the free internship predictor application at http://www.internships.com/predictor. Students should also be able to take a career assessment test at their college’s career services office.

Make sure internship is legitimate. Try to find other students who have done the internship before you and ask them about their experience. Also, look up the company that you are interested in with the Better Business Bureau. According to Bennington, a legitimate internship should have learning objectives and be part of a formal program.  InternshipRatings.com and InternshipKing.com both offer ratings of internships.

Beware of “premium” And “u-pay internships.” Students should be very careful about “u-pay” and “premium” internships Bennington warned. “It’s best if the internships comes through the school.”

Some of these all-inclusive oversea internships, according to Babbit, CEO  of YouTern, cost $5000 to $10,000, and although many parents may be willing to pay for them,  are not necessary.

Open a LinkedIn account. Ideally, college students should have a LinkedIn account long before they start looking for an internship explained Bennington. “High school isn’t too early for a LinkedIn profile either,” said Bennington. “Fill it up with volunteer work and get a head start.”

Outshine the other applicants. The first step to outshine other applicants and to get your foot in the door for an interview, is to have a well thought  out and well written resume. “The best resumes showcase accomplishments and not just responsibilities,” said Bennington.

The next step is to do the research on the company you are interviewing with. Go to LinkedIn and learn as much as you can about the person interviewing you as well as the company. “Company research is so important,” said Bennington. “I am always surprised at how many candidates don’t know the basics.”

The final step actually begins after the student starts the internship. Bennington recommends that interns email their bosses weekly with a list of accomplishments, areas for input, and goals for the week ahead.  This final step will not only help you stand out during your internship, but will help position you for your next internship or job after graduation.

College-to-Career Expert to Discuss on #CollegeChat: How to Find and Get the Right Internships

Emily Bennington, Founder of Professional Studio 365 and author of  Effective Immediately: How to Fit In, Stand Out, and Move Up at Your First Real Job, will discuss what college students need to do to find the right internships and stand out during #CollegeChat on Twitter on February 15,  2011 at 9 p.m. Eastern.

During #CollegeChat, Bennington (http://twitter.com/emilybennington) will discuss with attendees:

  • How to land your dream internship
  • Are internships for college students only
  • How to identify target internships
  • What resources are available
  • How to tell if internship is “legitimate”
  • Should you take a paid or unpaid internship
  • How to outshine other applicants
  • How to stand out as an intern

Emily is a frequent speaker to students on the topic of career success and provides professionalism and onboard training to new grads and their employers.She has been featured on CNN and ABC News, and has been quoted in publications such as The Wall Street Journal, New York Post, US News and World Report, Yahoo Jobs, and the Washington Post Express. She is also a contributing writer for Monster.com and a featured blogger for The Huffington Post. Emily is dedicated to giving young professionals the resources needed to achieve their highest potential, and she is particularly passionate about volunteerism as a means of leadership development and advancing the skills of young women in the workplace.

About #CollegeChat

#CollegeChat is a live bi-monthly conversation intended for teens, college students, parents, and higher education experts on Twitter. #CollegeChat takes place on the first and third Tuesday of the month at 6 p.m. Pacific/ 9 p.m. Eastern. Questions for each #CollegeChat edition can be sent to Theresa Smith, the moderator of #CollegeChat via http://Twitter.com/collegechat , by entering questions online on the CollegeChat Facebook page at http://ht.ly/1XIqV , or by email. More detailed information about signing up for Twitter and participating in #Collegechat  can be found at  http://pathwaypr.com/how-to-participate-in-a-twitter-chat .CollegeChat can also be found on Twitter at http://Twitter.com/collegechat .