Planning Your Summer

Unsure about your summer plans? You’re not alone. 

The situation around coronavirus has brought on widespread uncertainty for students, including their summer and career plans. 

If your summer plans are disrupted or unclear for any reason, this information will help you to explore possible alternatives beyond traditional internships or study abroad programs and create your own summer experiences. 

As you work on your plan, keep in mind: 

  • You can mix and match options below. Experiment with what works for you.
  • Be ready for slow responses from many prospective employers. 
  • Be flexible and proactive. This will help you reorient yourself and create/re-create opportunities for growth. 

Are you wondering how to implement the tips above and where to begin your search? Career advisers are available for virtual appointments to discuss your individual circumstances and to help you plan your career strategy.

How do I get started?

As you prepare for summer, this is a good time to consider your career goals: 

  • Which career fields am I curious about?
  • What interests/values/causes motivate me?
  • What skills do I want to gain?
  • What can I do this summer that moves me toward one, or more, of my goals?
  • How do I chart progress toward my goals?

Your answers to those questions will help you determine your goals. We encourage you to consider a range of options that may match your long- and shorter-term goals to move forward with this summer — many of which you can add to your resume.

I’m currently seeking an internship/job. How do I level up my search?
  • Research employers and industries that interest you. Read industry specific career guides and interview tips on Vault.
  • Update your Handshake and LinkedIn profiles, and your resume. Add any new skills, volunteering, internship or research projects. Need some inspiration? Check out our PDF iconresume and cover letter guides.
  • Prepare for interviews by scheduling a practice session with a career adviser. 
  • Can’t find an organization or industry that interests you? Career advisers can help you find other opportunities at organizations that do not participate in on-campus recruiting.
  • Think about organizations you admire. Identify and reach out to Princeton alumni in these organizations. Check out our Networking Guide for tips. 
  • Reach out to contacts at organizations you admire to ask about opportunities or remind them that you’ve recently applied. CareerShift, which is free for all Princeton students, has contact information for employees at millions of organizations. 
  • Keep track of your outreach efforts. Create a table or spreadsheet of organizations that interest you with alumni and/or employer contact information. 
  • Think about where you have previously worked or volunteered in the location you plan to be this summer. Contact them to see if they have summer job openings.
  • Practice for virtual interviews. Make an appointment with a career adviser for feedback. 
How do I get started if I’m seeking remote work?
  • Browse Handshake and other job search sites using keywords like virtual, telecommuting or remote in your fields of interest. 
  • Search for remote micro-internships (short-term, paid professional assignments) on Parker Dewey.
  • Look for virtual tutoring jobs. For example, Princeton Tutoring was founded by Princeton graduates.
  • Search for freelance projects or temporary work – online opportunities span multiple categories, including copywriting/editing, content creation, design, tech, marketing/social media marketing, development, customer support and more. 
  • Check out remote work sites and resources including 78 Best Freelance Jobs Websites to Get Remote Freelance Work (Fast) and The 18 Best Remote Jobs Boards in 2020.
What are other ways I can gain experience?
What skills and projects can I develop on my own (or with friends)?
  • Self-study 
    • Search and apply for external funding through grants, fellowships and awards in your desired field. Prepare your proposal(s) and ask for feedback from advisers and faculty. 
    • Buddy up - Schedule virtual study sessions with friends.
    • Enroll in online courses on Coursera, EdX or Udemy.  Here’s a list of free courses offered by Ivy League schools. 
    • LinkedIn Learning offers free courses for Princeton students and “learning paths” in a wide variety of creative, business and tech areas.
    • Learn a new language or advance your level. Princeton University Library provides free access to Rosetta Stone.
    • Take a course online at a local community college or four-year university. 
    • Set up a study plan to define your goals, track progress and stay accountable. A good framework to use is SMART Goals
  • Independent projects 
    • Get a head start on your senior thesis or junior paper research 
    • Consider computer programming/web/app development projects
    • Create an independent, low-budget arts/music/film/design project or vlog
    • Start a writing project or blog on a topic you are passionate about
    • Create and polish your portfolio
How do I explore the types of careers and fields that fit me?
How do I connect and learn from others who share my career interests?
  • Put together your Elevator Pitch
  • Use LinkedIn to identify Princeton alumni and professional networking groups. Join online discussions and webinars. 
  • Connecting with alumni can benefit you in multiple ways. You can learn about their career path, insider knowledge of an industry/organization and get ideas and advice on your next career opportunity. For tips on how to identify and reach out to alumni and employers, see our PDF iconNetworking Guide.
  • Check out professional associations in your field of interest for online workshops, resources, and virtual conferences. Student memberships are typically available.
What should I do if I’m interested in applying to graduate school?
  • Learn more about universities that interest you. Visit or inquire about virtual tours and information sessions.
  • Consider taking an online GMAT, MCAT, GRE or LSAT prep course.
  • Check out our Graduate School Guide for tips on searching and applying.