February is a good time to inquire about your student’s summer plans. Your student may want to:
- Work to make money or gain experience
- Intern to explore a profession or an academic field for possible graduate study
- Take classes at U-M or elsewhere
- Do a deep dive into whatever brings them joy
- Start a business, a blog, a movement
- Travel to visit locations, people, and graduate schools of interest
- Reconnect with family and friends
- Take a needed break
Whatever their chosen summer experience, your student can use the time to explore an interest, get a taste of a future career, and/or develop relationships with future mentors and colleagues.
Explore an Interest
A great starting point might be to ask, If you could do anything this summer, what would it be? If your students isn't sure, they may want to use i-plan from the U-M Career Center to explore interests and much more.
Get a Taste of a Future Career
Students can work, shadow, or volunteer in a field of interest. The Career Center survey found that about 70% of U-M students who did internships confirmed their interest in the chosen industry, while about 40% of students didn't find what they were seeking, and as a result will look elsewhere and be better equipped to articulate what they want next time.
The people your student meets this summer may be life-long supporters who mentor, advise, and encourage them. Students can take advantage of an extensive network through the U-M Alumni Association, which connects students with alumni who live and work around the globe, or search LinkedIn to find out how alumni got started – what was their first internship?
There is no “one size fits all” for summer experiences, and that said, it’s a good idea for students to develop the transferable skills that employers favor in job candidates, no matter how those skills were gained.
Many parents enjoy helping their students think about and plan summer activities, from offering gentle inquiry (What are you thinking about this summer?), to using their contacts (I know someone in that field/firm/city – would you be interested in talking to them?), to celebrating their student’s initiative and ambition (Wow, you really went for it!).
To help Student Life continue making a difference in students' lives, please consider making a gift.