“The national unemployment rate might have dipped to 8.4% last month, but the youth job market still remains bleak. According the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the youth employment rate for July 2011 (usually the peak of employment for the summer months) was 48.8%, the lowest youth employment rate for the month since 1948.”
- “What College Students Should do Now to Get a Summer Job” by Emily Driscoll, FoxBusiness.com, Feb. 15, 2012
“Do you need to find a summer job? You're in luck because there is good news to report. The summer job market for 2012 is going to be one of the best ones in quite a while.”
- “Summer Jobs 2012” by Alison Doyle, About.com, April 15, 2012
Wow, what’s with those two quotes above? One reporter is saying that the job market for students is going to be the worst ever, the other says that things are looking pretty good.
Until we can get those two writers into one room and let them duke it out, here’s our interpretation. If you get a job this summer, the job climate is good for you. If you don’t, it isn’t. And then we come to an even bigger question. Whether you get a job or not, how are you going to put your summer months to the best use?
After all, there is no guarantee that a summer job or internship is actually going to get you any closer to reaching your educational goals. You might get very lucky and find a job that teaches you skills you will need as you pursue your chosen career. But in all likelihood, you are going to get a job that has very little educational value. We know one city planning major who spent last summer filling orders that came through the squawk box at a fast food’s drive-through lane, for example.
So how can you put your summer months to good educational use, no matter what kind of job or internship you can find? One good solution is to take some courses online. Here are some ways you can get online courses working for you . . .
- You can preview classes you will be taking when school starts again next September. If you’ll be taking an intro psych course in the fall, for example, why not take one online over the summer months? You’ll get a head start on school, and probably earn a better grade too, when the “real” course comes around.
- You can use online courses to help you choose a major. If you’re thinking of majoring in accounting, for example, why not take a course over the summer to help you make a more informed choice?
- You can save money on next year’s tuition. Online courses at StraighterLine cost less than the same courses elsewhere. You can take courses that you need to graduate, transfer the credits to your regular college, and save a lot of money.
- You could graduate sooner. Taking a few summer courses online could count towards cutting a semester from your four years of college. Given the current costs of attending college, that could save you a great deal of money.
So whether you get a job or not, why not take some online courses this summer? They could make the difference between a summer that sizzles and one that simply fizzles away.