The University Network

How to Plan for Summer This Winter (Month by Month Guide)

Even though it’s the middle of the winter and it is cold with snow on the ground for many of you, there has never been a better time to plan for the summer. Whether you want to pursue an internship, travel or something else entirely, there are many ways to start preparing your your summer right now in the winter and in the following months to come.

➫ January

If you’re pursuing an internship…

According to The Muse, January is all about getting organized. This is the time to start determining what type of internship you’d like to pursue (paid, for credit, remote, in office, etc.) and searching for internship opportunities.

There are many ways to find internships, such as a simple Google search, visiting your university’s career office, or through your professors.

Once you have found internships that you’d like to apply to, it’s a good idea to create a document or a spreadsheet to keep track of all of them.

Finally, before you start applying for internships, make sure all the materials you need for your internship are up to date and free of errors. This means making sure that your resume is current, or making sure you have enough clips or samples of your work.

SEE: How to Land Your Dream Internship (From The Other Side of the Career Center)

If you’re looking for a summer job…

January is the perfect time to start looking for work. Many places like to have all of their hiring done by Spring Break, so when college students are at home, they can go ahead and complete all the orientation and paperwork.

Try job boards, such as Indeed and Snagajob, searching with the keyword “summer job” or “seasonal work”.

If you want to take summer classes…

January is when you should be thinking about taking summer classes. Take a look at your current schedule and what other classes you still need to complete your degree.

SEE: 10 Tips to Choose the Right College Classes

➫ February

If you’re pursuing an internship…

February is all about applying. Turn in your internship application at least a week or two before the actual deadline, just in case there happened to be an error, or the company didn’t receive all of your materials.

If you’re looking at an internship out of your town or state, especially in a highly populated place like New York City or Los Angeles, this would also be the time to check into intern housing. While many colleges and universities do offer summer housing, it often fills up fast.

If you’re looking for a summer job…

It’s fine to continue to apply for summer jobs in February. While you’re still looking for a job, make sure that your resume is still polished and your references are up to date.

If you want to take summer classes…

In February, you should have a good idea of how well you’re currently doing in your classes. It’s important to keep track of your grades in this month and the following months, because if you end up not doing so well, a class that you’re currently in might end up being a class you have to take in the summer.

SEE: 7 Effortless Ways To Get Better Grades

Keep pushing through your schoolwork. The real planning begins in March.

➫ March

If you’re pursuing an internship…

By March, you’ve hopefully received emails and phone calls from places that you have applied to, inviting you for an interview. Make sure you reply promptly to these emails and phone calls, as they’re likely watching to see how quickly you respond.

Sometimes, you might have been interviewed and been accepted to be an intern sometime in late January, on in February. If that’s the case, March is typically the month you have to send them your decision on whether or not you would like to be an intern. Make sure you keep up with the dates that each internship needs a response from you.

Also, if you have not gotten any responses from any internships yet, don’t fret! There’s still time to apply to more places, but you might have to compromise on the type of internship you wish to pursue.

This would also be the month to confirm housing because after this month, prices usually go up for the places that still have space available.

SEE: 4 Tips for a Better Interview & What to Say and What NOT to Say During an Interview

If you’re looking for a summer job…

In early March, you should begin to hear back from at least a few places that you have applied to. If you are unable to travel home for in person interviews, make sure you let the job know, so they can either postpone the interview until you are able to make it home, or they can set up some other way to interview you (i.e. phone or video chat).

If you have yet to hear back from some place, it might be a good idea to take a trip back home and visit each place that you have applied to in person. It’s a definite plus to the employer seeing a potential employee face to face rather than just their information through a computer monitor.

If you want to take summer classes…

In March, you should be beginning to register for fall classes. This is also the time you would begin to register for summer classes as well. When you do to talk to your advisor, make sure to ask them questions regarding classes.

Also, see if you have any remaining financial aid that can be put towards your summer classes and other fees.

➫ April

If you’re pursuing an internship…

April is the decision month! You should have all of your decisions by now and are ready to choose which company you’d like to spend your summer with.

If you’ve already chosen a place, this is the month that the company is likely going to send you payroll information (if your internship is paid) and other pre-internship paperwork. This is also the month that your housing should be finalized. Contracts should be signed and you should be all ready for moving in.

If you’re looking for a summer job…

By April, you should have luckily sealed the deal with a place of your choosing. This month, the employer will likely be sending you information and paperwork to fill out, so you’re ready for your first day when you arrive back home from college.

If you haven’t found a job by April, you’re probably better off waiting until you get back home in order to see what kind of jobs are available near you and applying in person once you get home.

If you want to take summer classes…

In April, if you have not already registered for your classes, you would do so this month. If you have, however, now would be the time to find people who are currently in the classes you have signed up for and see how they like it, or what the coursework load is.

You could even get started on getting the textbooks for your classes.  

➫ May

If you’re pursuing an internship…

May is the month of finalizing. Your employer will likely be sending you information about when your first day is, what to expect and bring and more.

If you unfortunately were not able to secure an internship, it’s not the end of the road. There are plenty of opportunities to work in your field without an internship, such as volunteering or job shadowing. Take this summer to get a job or volunteer at some place to help pad up your resume and make it even more enticing for next summer.

If you’re looking for a summer job…

In May, you’ll be beginning your summer job. Congrats on getting hired! If you were unable to find a job, you can always resort to ordinary neighborhood jobs, such as babysitting or dog walking. They might not make as much as a paying job, but it is better than nothing!

You can also try out volunteering in your community. While typically not paid, volunteering can give you good experience working with others and helping out local people in need.  

If you want to take summer classes…

By May, you should be preparing to take your summer classes. Whether you’re taking a class that lasts either a term or the entire summer, time management and studying is still as important as during the normal school term.

Of course, there are many other things to do in the summer besides getting an internship, a job, or taking summer classes. You can volunteer, study abroad, or even travel! It’s up to you to enjoy your summer the way you’d like.

RELATED: A College Student’s Summer To Do List