Careers Advice Blog

Using the summer to prepare for university

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With the first days of summer just around the corner, many of us are already thinking of ways to unwind. From spending time with friends to relaxing on the beach, we can’t help but love the idea of down-time. However, summer can be a huge asset for us in terms of preparing for the future. Here are a few ways to take advantage of the next few months to make your next year of university that much better.

Pursue an internship

Without the stress of coursework, summer is the perfect time to boost your professional experience! Look for internships or job shadowing opportunities that align with your career goals, and don’t be afraid to put in those extra hours at the office. One summer, I interned nearly full-time at a public relations agency, and this gave me valuable insight into what my professional life and workload might look like in the future. By interning or shadowing someone in a profession that interests you, you are making important connections and obtaining experience that will benefit you later in your career.

Take a class

If your university offers coursework in the summertime, consider taking that mandatory class you’ve been dreading, especially if it’s in an area you struggle with. The summer term is the perfect time to focus your attention on only one subject, rather than suffer through a class you hate while juggling several others. You can also take advantage of the summertime to take an optional class that interests you, such as a creative writing class or foreign language.

Travel abroad

Whether you join a university-sponsored study abroad program or plan a trip on your own, traveling allows you to learn about other cultures and expand your horizons. Interested in sports marketing? Incorporate your career goals by touring a country’s stadiums. Studying art? Be sure to visit the local museums. Travel is not only fun, but it is also a great way to learn about your own career from a cross-cultural perspective (and these programs are a fantastic resume booster!).


Volunteering your time will not only help you in the job search process, but it is also a wonderful way to give back to your community. Find a cause that you’re passionate about, and devote yourself to that cause. You can even choose an organization that directly relates to your career goals (for example, if you want to work in the medical field, consider volunteering at a local hospital). You’ll feel great helping others, and you may even make some new friends along the way!

What are your tips for using summer to prepare for university? Share your plans in the comments section below!

Photo: Christine Majul / Flickr

Valerie MosesUsing the summer to prepare for university

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