My first trip to Cedar Point Amusement Park was a summer vacation with my family when I was about 15 years old. I was long overdue for a return visit. We decided to take our family road tripping to Cedar Point Amusement Park at the end of August.
Located in Sandusky, OH, Cedar Point Amusement Park is the oldest operating amusement parks in the US. The park boasts 18 dollar coasters and 71 rides – which is a world record for most rides – on over 334 acres.
Ceader Point is the Roller Coaster Capital
Nicknamed the Roller Coaster Capital of the World, the park does not disappoint when it comes to thrill rides. The 18 roller coasters within Cedar Point are some of the highest and fastest around. In fact, it’s the only amusement park in the world with six coasters that are at least 200 feet high.
The Magnum XL-200 was the first hyper-coaster and first ever coaster to top 200 feet. At 205 feet, it reaches a top speed of 72 MPH. My seven-year old niece talked her dad into riding the Steel Vengeance coaster with her. After her trip on the 205 foot high, 74 MPH mixed wood and metal coaster, she stuck to the kiddie rides for the rest of the trip. She’s a champ for doing it though!
On my first trip years ago, I did brave the Corkscrew and the Raptor coasters. Neither myself, husband or kids were really into thrill rides at the time.
Plenty for the Littles Too
It’s not all thrill rides at Cedar Point Amusement Park. There is plenty for the littles too. We took our time making our way through the Camp Snoopy area, a section with many “Peanuts” themed rides. There are plenty of kid and family friendly options. Closer to the main entrance, many of the old school kids rides are front and center. The motorcycles, police cars and dune buggies that take it easy on the little ones who prefer slow speeds.
In addition to the rides, access to Cedar Point Beach is included in park admission. If ripping through water slides is more your speed, the Cedar Point Shores Water Park hits you with all of the splishy-splashy summer fun you can take.
Travel to Cedar Point
We are a family that is always up for a road trip. Leaving from our home base of Rochester, NY, the drive to Sandusky, OH is about 5 hours. From western NY to northern Ohio, I-90 West cuts right through Cleveland and travels along the shores of Lake Erie.
On this visit it was me, my husband, our two kids, my parents and cousin in our rented Chrysler Pacifica mini van. In a separate van my sister, niece, nephew and great niece and nephew. Once we arrived, we didn’t need to use our car for the duration of our trip.
For travelers who fly in, the closest major airport in Cleveland Hopkins International airport about 55 miles away. Another option would be the Toledo Express Airport, 65 miles away but with limited flight selection.
Places to Stay at Cedar Point Amusement Park
Hotel Breakers and the Lighthouse Point campground are located onsite with walking access to the waterpark, beach and amusement park. Nearby you will find the Express Hotel and Castaway Cay accessible via shuttle service or car. Although Express and Castaway are not onsite, they still qualify for the vacation package discounts and are Cedar Point properties. Guests staying at Cedar Point properties get one-hour early entry into the park, complimentary parking and ticket discounts.
Hotel Breakers is a recently renovated beachfront resort with 669 guest rooms and suites. My sister and her crew reerved at suite at Hotel Breakers. They had a great view of the water, enclosed balcony, bedroom with 2 queen beds, and a pull out sofa bed. In addition there was a microwave and small fridge in the room. One of the best benefits is that you are just steps away from the beach. The easy access to to the water, day or evening gives more opportunities to create memories. There are evening activites on the beach including fireworks, parasaililng and jet ski rentals.
In addition to the awesome location, Hotel Breakers has five onsite restaurants. You can choose from Perkins, TOMO Hibachi Grill, Surf Lunge, TGIFriday’s and a Starbucks.
Tiny House Living at Lighthouse Point
The cabins at Lighthouse Point are essentially tiny houses. After many episodes of Tiny House Hunters, the husband and I were probably too eager to give it a shot. There are multiple floor plan options available to choose from with the 156 cottages & cabins.
Water-front cabins can sleep up to six, family cabins up to eight and the Deluxe cabins can accommodate up to 10 people. For my group of seven, we chose a Deluxe cabin. The determining factor for us was having two bathrooms.
The two-level Deluxe loft cabin consists of a 42” flat screen, two futons, a bedroom (queen size bed with TV), two full bathrooms with tub/shower combos a kitchenette with a sink, microwave and small fridge, all on the first level. When you travel up to the second floor loft space, there are two separate sleeping places, each with a queen sized bed and two televisions. Complimentary wi-fi is included.
Linens and toiletries are included in the room. Another thing that sold us on the cabin experience was the outdoor patio space for each tiny home that includes a picnic table and charcoal grill.
My favorite part of the trip might have just been the cabin itself. It felt so cozy and comfortable. I loved the wood! The cabins was also very clean.
We spent a good portion of one evening at the Lighthouse Point pool. In addition to the swimming pool, the kids splash pad had many cool sprinkler additions to it. Our visit took place in late August when many schools were already back in session. Schools in NY start after Labor Day so we always have the chance to do late trips, when crowds have thinned out.
Camping at Lighthouse Point
The cabins are located in the RV park that also has 145 full hook-up campsites. As aspiring RV owners, walking through the campsite, checking out the set ups always gives us ideas for our future purchase.
Cedar Point was actually one of the first trips we took in our family RV trailer all those years ago when I was a teenager. On that trip, my parents, my best friend and I spent three days camping at Lighthouse Point. We had an 18-foot Real-Lite travel trailer that was comfortable enough for the four of us. I remember the comfort and convinces of coming and going from the park to the RV and waking up to the smells of my mom making breakfast in the camper. It was my dad who planted the seed of RV camping. Back in the 90’s we were very often the only Black family around the camp ground. Not much has changed. Momentum is growing as more Black families explore the great outdoors.
While you can hear the occasional screams from the nearest roller coster, the campgrounds were otherwise peaceful getaway. The cottages are lake front, the cabins are in a section that surround small man-made lake and he RV hook up sites are all in the middle.
What to eat at the park
Inside of Cedar Point Amusement Park you will find all of your amusement park favorites, from Auntie-Anne’s/Cinnabon to Chick-Fil-A, Dippin-Dot’s to Dominos. When eating with the kids we stuck to the basics of pizza, fries and burgers.
This family road trip also dubbed as an anniversary trip for the husband and I. We ditched the kids for a nice meal at over at Hotel Breakers at TOMO Sushi and Hibachi. We failed to realize how busy it would be and didn’t make a reservations. Since I was hungry and didn’t want to wait an hour, we happily opted for a table were we could order from the menu. I’ve been to enough hibachi restaurants so I wasn’t too particular about needing the table show.
Our food was fast, tasty and filling. Very similar vibe to an upscale hibachi places that I’ve eaten at in other places.
The morning before our departure we all met for breakfast in Hotel Breakers at Perkins. Perkins is a breakfast place similar to an IHop or a Cracker Barrel. You can get breakfast anytime of day and they have the most awesome pancakes! We no longer have a Perkins location in upstate NY, so we were pretty excited to see the familiar breakfast place.
Going back again
We will be going back again to Cedar Point. The short drive from upstate NY, the reasonable ticket prices and the campground make you feel as though you are getting multiple vacations in one.
After a year long delay, LEGOLAND New York is open for business. In addition to Legoland, the LEGOLAND Hotel also opened in August 2021.
Legoland New York was made with kids in mind
LEGOLAND New York is the 3rd Legoland resort in the United States, joining California and Florida. There are a total of ten LEGOLAND Parks across the globe.
These theme parks were all designed with kids age 2-12 in mind. Since the Kent Krew littles are 8 and 4, this was a perfect place for us. Even if your kids are not LEGO fanatics (mines are not), there is something for all adults and kids alike. You know because at LEGOLAND, everything is awesome (pun intended).
What you will find at LEGOLAND New York
Located in Goshen, NY, LEGOLAND New York is just 60 miles north of New York City. You can catch a flight to any of the major NYC or NJ airports and drive to the park in 1-2 hours (of course traffic could make it longer). You can easily extend your trip and spend some extra time in NYC or in the gorgeous green (in the summer) Hudson Valley.
We live in Rochester, NY so the trip to LEGOLAND New York was a quick 4.5 hour ride south for us. We actually drove to NYC first. It was the first trip to NYC for the kiddos and their chance to see the “city” with the big buildings. The highlight was an view of the Empire State building from the sunroof and an authentic slice of NYC pizza.
LEGOLAND New York has seven themed lands spread across 150 acres: Brickstreet, Bricktopia, LEGO NINJAGO World, LEGO Castle, LEGO City, LEGO Pirates and Miniland.
We did explore all seven lands. We spent about 4 hours at the park before the kids started to wear down. The majority of our time was spent in LEGO Pirates, Miniland and LEGO City.
Making our way through the park
We arrived a few minutes before the park opened. Although there was a line, it moved rather quickly to get inside. You have to go though the security scanner of course. We were able to have a backpack with two water bottles and some snacks with no problems.
Parking was simple and easy. You actually just drive right in and follow the directions and parking lot attendants to the next open spot. You pay on your exit. Parking is $20 when you pre-pay and I was told $25 if you pay on exit. If you pre-pay, you can scan the barcode on your receipt to get out, otherwise you can use a debit/credit card to pay and get out.
You enter the park on Brickstreet. You are greeted by the Lego store, or The BIG Shop as it is called. There you can find unique LEGO sets and items that are only available in the store. I fully intended to purchase sets for the kids but they didn’t seem too interested. The prices weren’t too bad, but since the kids didn’t ask I didn’t offer!
Brickstreet is also where you can find things like stroller rentals, locker rentals and guest services. The first ride of the day you see will be Brick Party, or what most people would call a merry-go-round. Camryn and I happily hopped aboard.
We then moved into Bricktopia where Camryn enjoyed the Duplo Express train. I’m pretty short so I was able to squeeze onto it with her. On our way out of the park, we made another pass through Bricktopia to ride a few more attractions including DJ’s Dizzy Discor Spin which did make me a little dizzy.
Miniland Will Blow Your Mind
Miniland is a collection of miniature Lego builds of landmark places in the world. I think it was likely my favorite of the parks. The details, the intricate nature of the builds, the complexity was so good. Even while walking slowly and taking your time, it’s just so much to take in. From the NYC skyline, the San Fransisco Bay Bridge, the Las Vegas Strip, monuments in Washington DC, and so many others.
We found the pizza in LEGO City
My son is a super picky eater. We eat pizza multiple times per week. So, his favorite thing was no surprise, eating at Brickolini’s Pizza and Pasta found in LEGO City. The pizza and pasta restaurant is a buffet. It costs a little over $50 for the four of us to access the buffet and unlimited soft drinks. A bit pricey considering the day before we had 2 slices of NYC pizza for $9 and feed all our of us!
The pizza selection was good and pretty tasty. The pasta was bland. They do have Coke machines that let you create and mix any flavor of Coke products you like. I wasn’t too impressed by the dessert options either. The food definitely wasn’t the high point for me. There are other eatery options in the park that we didn’t try.
I’ve heard great things about the famous Apple Fries, but unfortunately didn’t get to try them.
The other highlight of LEGO City were the Driving School and Junior Driving School. After looking at YouTube videos of the park before visiting, my son had already determined he wanted to ride that ride and the Fire Academy Ride. The Fire Academy wasn’t opened due to staffing.
The Driving School attractions allow little drivers to make their way around and through obstacles all while driving mini cars. At the end, they get their “driver’s license”.
Get a little wet at the Splash Battle
Moving into the land of LEGO Pirates I was excited to see a few water rides. While we didn’t get on Splash Battle, the ride is set up so that you can engage with the riders. They can spray you with water cannons and you can try and spray them at the same time. It was a fun way to interact with the ride without going through a line.
The other pirate themed rides like Anchor’s Away! and Rouge Riders looked fun as well. The kids spent a fair amount of time running through the Shiver Me Bricks playground.
The Dragon Coaster
Since LEGLOAND was made for smaller kids, you won’t find a bunch of big thrill rides. If you are into thrill rides and coasters, check out my review of Cedar Point Amusement park, the roller coaster capital of the world.
There is one roller coaster though, the Dragon Coaster. Open to guests who are at least 4 years old and 42 inches tall. Camryn was big enough, but mommy might have convinced her otherwise (shhh). Although the coaster looks pretty tame, I just wasn’t up for it, or the line. She was a very understanding 4 year-old though. It’s a great first coaster for kids, and we will be riding it when we go back. If you have a smaller little, the Dragon’s Apprentice is for riders as small as 36 inches tall.
The other rides in LEGO Castle like Merlin’s Flying Machines and Tower Climb look like fun too. We did explore the gift shop in the castle to find a few keepsakes. Also, there was another food court in this section of the park.
Unfortunately, many of the smaller food stands throughout the park that have drinks, popcorn and ice cream were closed due to understaffing.
Back to Bricktopia
When we reached Ninjago, we didn’t spend a lot of time there. There were some ninja training obstacles that my son found interesting but my daughter wasn’t entertained by. We passed through and headed back around to Bricktopia.
The Factory is a ride exclusive to LEGOLAND New York! You get to experience what it’s like to be a Lego toy, getting boxed and shipped to your new home. We didn’t actually know it was a ride when we started walking in. We figured it out pretty quickly though.
While waiting to get to the ride, The Factory has neat Lego builds that give you the idea you are in the Lego factory. When we reached the ride (which was quick because there was almost no line) we were a little concerned.
The ride is dark and loud. For most kids, that’s fun but for some kids with sensory processing challenges it can be overwhelming. Luckily, I was able to offer my son a pair of shades and we ear buds and we made it through the ride okay. The ride itself was pretty cool and my husbands favorite part.
Perfect Timing for a Visit to Legoland New York
Our visit was in late August 2021, about a month after the park opened. We chose to spend a few days in the Hudson Valley region of New York State and dedicated a full-day to LEGOLAND. I picked a Tuesday because according to the website it’s usually a less crowded day. Also, there was also a promotion on tickets for Tuesday visits at the time.
Tickets for adults (13+) are $79.99 and ages 3-12 $69.99. There are some discounts and promotions I saw on the Legoland website. Annual passes are $229 per person for a year. You can also get a discount when you book a package with a stay at Legoland Hotel. We did not stay at the Legoland hotel for this visit.
I scored tickets through an employee portal at work at a huge discount! I paid $188 for all four tickets (including tax and an administrative fee). That was by far the best deal I found.
Although the LEGOLAND Hotel looks awesome, it was a little pricey for the amount of time we would be there. We stayed at a nearby Fairfield Inn which hosted a lot of families visiting LEGOLAND that week. It was only about 1.5 miles away. There are a number of hotels within a few miles of the park.
Visiting LEGOLAND New York During COVID
During our visit to the park in late August, it was busy but not crowded. We were able to move freely without being shoulder to shoulder with large groups of people I attribute that to the time of year (most other schools outside of NY were already back in session) day of week and many people still not knowing it’s open.
Masks were not required but recommended. Given the park is mostly outdoors, I saw high levels of mask wearing by many families. The park was very clean and well stocked with hand sanitizer at rides, at bathrooms and throughout the park. While in line, there wasn’t too much social distancing, however, it wasn’t crowded so no need to be right up on each other.
LEGOLAND is completely cashless. You can use credit cards or Apple pay only, which limits contact. Coming into the park, you can print your tickets to be scanned or just download your tickets to your phone to be scanned.
Overall, we had a good time at LEGOLAND New York and we plan on going back. The staffing issues meant that there were a few rides that were closed. Also, it seemed live the rides that were operational, went very fast. The rides lasted 45 seconds to 2 min. Since there was only one person to operate the ride and do the safety check, I fee like they sped up things keep it moving.
We will make a return visit at some point. And, Camryn has already told me we are going to ride the roller coaster next time.
There was a time when I was sure I was going to move to Boston. I’d never been to Boston, but somehow it landed on my list of post college destinations. Boston was only 6-ish hour drive from home (Rochester, NY), 1 hour flight, a big city on the east coast and offered career options in higher education or publishing.
Fast-forward a few years and I ended up picking Baltimore over Boston. I have, however visited Boston several times now. My latest visit in July 2018 was the first time for my family. For me it was a work trip, but the family was able to tag too. A very quick mid-July trip to check out a few new things. We only had one day to explore, which was mostly spent at the Franklin Park Zoo.
Hit the Road
Although I’d been to Boston a few times before, it was always by flight. This was my first time driving from western NY to Boston. We packed up the rented Nissan Altima and took off for Boston. For longer road trips, we like to hit the road at night so the kids will sleep more, but in this case we left early in the morning. The drive through New York State is scenic.
Our normal road trip routine includes the DVD players linked up for entertainment. I try to not let the kids watch the screens too much, they are a necessary evil on our rides. The littles managed to stay awake for the entire seven hour ride…. yup, not a single nap! We hit Boston at peak rush hour at which point Camryn finally took a nap. If you are driving, try to avoid arriving at rush hour. The last hour of our trip was just trying to get a few miles to our hotel.
A River Runs Through It
While I am pretty much a Marriott girl, this time was stayed at a Hyatt. The hotel was probably a little fancier than we usually do with the kids. The pricer hotels just usually don’t offer free breakfast which is a great money saver. At this time, the kids didn’t know how to swim yet either which also now drives our hotel choices.
My work events were at Harvard and this was one of the host hotels so we stayed at the Cambridge at the Hyatt Regency Cambridge. Of the choices, I picked it primarily because it was within walking distance to a park and directly across from the walking path along the Charles river. I figured my husband would want to escape the hotel for a while and those would be two great options. Rather than go outside, turns out he just let them run around the hotel halls and ride the elevator.
Our waterfront view room overlooked the Charles River. Since it was peak summer in July, we had many occasions to watch the boats, kayaks and row teams on the river. Our room was equipped with a queen bed and a pull out couch. We prefer this over two beds because it gives the kids a place to sit, play and eat. The kids are still small enough the sharing a bed isn’t an issue.
Our only hotel dinner also came at the in-house restaurant Zephyr. We enjoyed the outdoor patio overlooking the river. Since it wasn’t crowded, it gave the kids to room to roam a little. After a long day of traveling with kids, hotel restaurants while not the cheapest are definitely convenient.
Visiting the Franklin Park Zoo
On our one day to explore, we chose to visit the Franklin Park Zoo. Easy decision really because the kids love animals. Visiting the Zoo is something the we do a lot in different cities. So far we have done the Nashville Zoo, Seneca Park Zoo in Rochester, Smithsonian Zoo in Washington, DC, Cincinnati Zoo and the Franklin Park Zoo.
The Franklin Park Zoo overall was a fun experience. We were able to buy tickets online to skip the line. Admission for all four of us was about $50. I think the kids liked the Meeting Barn farm animals section the best. The Meeting Barn puts the kids up close and personal with some familiar farm animals.
The zoo is not super big (72 acres), so we were able to hit all of the exhibits within a few hours. Although the zoo itself is on the smaller side, the playground is pretty big. I don’t think it is possible to walk about a playground and not let me kids play we let them go. The playground has two sections, one for older kids and one tiny toddlers. At that time, the littlest little was about 2.5 so she was still in the small kid section. With our usual divide and conquer strategy, the husband took one kid and I took the other.
Since I was mostly tied up for work but we somehow managed to make a trip to Target. My excuse was that we needed snacks for the ride home, the reality is that I couldn’t resist the huge Target downtown in view of Fenway Park. There was a game that night but we didn’t go but did make traffic a little busier. Check the game schedule if you will be out in the summer downtown to see how traffic might be if you are not going to the game.
In other visits to Boston I’ve enjoyed some great seafood, taken in the beautiful history and architecture, hung around the Haah-vard yard, road the subway, and peeped the Green Monster. There is a ton more to do we didn’t experience this time around, I’m sure at some point I’ll make another return visit.
Since there aren’t many other options, you should use your winter break to find summer internships. Your winter break used to consist of sleeping in, mom’s cooking, seeing friends, your old room, and no homework. Well, depending on where you are, you may have never left home for the fall semester this year. Seeing friends might be only via Facetime. The unknown future due to COVID-19 provides all the more reason to spend your winter break finding summer internships.
The least fun part of being home is dealing with annoying questions from family.
You may or may not have any answers. I don’t care if you have answers for them, I want you to have answers for YOU. If you are a senior, things are getting really real as you buckle down on your job, grad school or post grad internship search. Even if you aren’t graduating in six months, using this winter time wisely can have a big impact on your upcoming summer internships.
Taking the time to do these things below can help you gain confidence on what can happen over the next few months. When little is predictable, you can have confidence that you are taking step to have a productive summer 2021.
Resting and Refocus
Sleep, eat, be a little lazy, exercise, talk a few walks, read a fun book, wrestle with your younger siblings and hug your family. Sometimes just being home can be enough to get you back to balance and your focus right. Resting is required for your physical and mental well-being.
However, don’t spend your entire break in bed or binge watching Netflix, Hulu, Disney+ etc. Get your baby Yoda fix on for sure, but make sure you put in some work too.
In these changing times, you might also start to think more critically about your coures and career choices. What industries have been hit hard and which industires are thriving? After a cold long winter, will summer 2021 internships be availble in your area of interest? While your rest, and declutter your mind, you can think about things more clearly.
Work on Your Resume
If you don’t have a resume, it’s time to make one. Update your resume every semester with new internships, clubs or skills you’ve gained. A resume is a one-page summary of your experience, education, skills, leadership and volunteer activities. Learn the elements of what makes a good resume and how to write a cover letter. These two tools are vital to your internship or job search.
For help, start with the career services office on campus. Even if you are not on campus, check the career services website for basic information, virtual meetings, resume templates and tips on where to begin (or you can download my free resume template). Most career services offices also offer resume reviews or critiques too. You can also check to see if they offer mock interviews. The more you prepare for an interview, the less nervous you will be.
I am a big fan of informational interviews. An informational interview is an interview you conduct with a professional in the career field you want to pursue. It is the perfect opportunity to learn about what it takes to succeed in an industry, challenges you could face, what the day-to-day life is like in that career and network.
Attempting to contact the CEO of a Fortune 500 company will probably not get you any results. This is where you start with your local network (parent’s jobs, neighbors, church members, fraternity or sorority members etc.) and then move onto using school resources to tap into the alumni network.
Through networking, you should be able to identify at least one opportunity to sit down or have a brief phone call with someone that can give you insight. Since you likely have no classes, you’ll have the time to find the right person and connect.
Create Your LinkedIn Profile
Use this time off to create your LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn is an online community for professionals of all levels to connect, network, share and learn. Many companies, large and small post jobs and internships through LinkedIn. They also use it to locate and connect with potential candidates.
Your LinkedIn profile should mirror your resume, however, it provides the opportunity to include additional information. You can write a professional summary, highlight skills, add recommendations, share a portfolio and publish content. The other great thing is that you can find and directly apply for jobs and internships through LinkedIn.
As a current student, you should not feel pressured to have a profile that fills in all the boxes to oversell who you are. Focus your energy on a solid summary and matching the sections of your resume to the online profile.
Get your resume ready, create your LinkedIn profile and start applying ASAP. Don’t miss an opportunity because you missed a deadline. Download my free Internship Manual Tracker with a free resume template to keep yourself on track.
The most useful way to spend this time off is to actually start applying for internships. Many companies are already accepting applications for summer 2021 – for virtual or in person internships. Companies like ViacomCBS, NBCUniversal, Netflix, Johnson & Johnson and so many others are already accepting applications for PAID summer internships (including post grad internships) across departments.
Depnding on your career goals, you can also start applying to graduate school programs. Use the break to study for any required standardized tests. If you want an MBA, you are likely going to take the GMAT, liberal arts programs mostly require the GRE, medical school candidates will need to take the MCAT and law school hopefuls will take the LSAT. Your break is the perfect time to take a study course or the test.
Learn the admissions requirements for the programs you want. Looking to become a physical therapist, know what the physical therapy degree admission requirements are well before hand. Think you want an MBA, learn the types of undergrad classes business schools look for. Goal to be a nurse, learn if an RN to BSN is the best option for you. Learning it now will allow you to carefully plan your approach.
Once you get back to school, your summer internship or graduate school search time might be more limited, so take advantage of your open winter schedule. Be smart, get a head of the game and this summer you will be glad that you did. We don’t know what things will look like for sure summer 2021, but give yourself the option. While others might sit back and wait for everything to fall into place, you can choose to take action – even in the midst of a pandemic.
You want to know how to find an internship. Here are five ways to find an internship today! It’s Always internship season – summer, fall, winter, spring, it doesn’t matter. Given that things are unpredictable in the season of COVID-19, the good thing as that these tested tips work in or out of a pandemic.
These proven strategies helped me find eight internships when I was in college. Later, as the Senior Manager of a national internship program, these tips helped over 500 students find internships across the country. There are obviously more than five ways to find an internship, but these serve as a starting point for you today.
Even in this time of social distancing, you can still pursue many of these methods for finding an internship. Zoom calls, phone calls and emails are all valid ways of communicating. Colleges that have moved online are still offering virtual career services appointments to help students navigate this challenging time.
1) Ask Around
Approach your college professors, department heads and administrators and let them know what type of internships you are looking for. They may have professional contacts that they can connect you with in the industry you are exploring.
I landed one of my best internships through one of my communications professors who connected me to the right person. I got an on campus internship using the same tactic of just asking and letting the right people know what type of opportunity I was looking for. Go beyond the college community and ask your friends parents, mentors and other professionals you know too. This is also your first attempt at learning to network!
TAKE ACTION: Make a list of at least 10 people (professors, parents, friend’s parents, mentors etc.) you know that you want to approach in helping you find an internship. Develop a short script explaining what type of opportunity you are looking for and how they can help you. Getting comfortable talking to others and sharing your goals will come in handy later as you start to build your networking skills.
Bonus Tip: It’s time to join LinkedIn. LinkedIn is a social network that focuses on professional networking and career development.
Your college career center can be an exceptional resource for finding internships. Career centers have onsite interview days, career fairs, internship postings and a vast array of resources at your disposal. You have access to the all of those tools for free (well, of course you are paying tuition). If you can’t make it to campus, set up a virtual visit with a career advisor.
Career fairs offer you the chance to get beyond email and get valuable face time with hiring professionals. Use these opportunities to your advantage, and use your career services center as a part of your internship search team. This fall, career fairs might look a little different as virtual events.
Make an Appointment: Schedule a time to sit down with a career counselor/advisor (or virtually) to go over your resume. Discuss your internship goals and create a plan for finding internships each year, and ultimately finding a job. You should work with your counselor to update your plan at the beginning of each semester.
Assess Your Skills: Some offices offer the opportunity for students to take skills assessment tests. If you are still trying to figure out your major and need some career direction, sign up to take a skills assessment and learn what careers you might be best suited for.
3) Don’t Ignore Small Businesses and Non-Profits
Meaningful and amazing internship experiences don’t have to come from companies with 5,000+ employees. In a previous post, Not Everyone Can Intern at Google, I wrote about why you should look at small companies for internships. There are so many smaller companies with under 500 employees who gladly welcome interns into their operations. Size alone doesn’t dictate the quality and opportunity of an internship experience.
Smaller companies and non-profit organizations, can often be a great resume boost and opportunity for that first internship. More competitive internships often require previous internship experience or are reserved for upperclassmen. The challenge currently, is that many small business are closing are can’t afford to pay interns.
TAKE ACTION: Find a small local business or non-profit, do your research and then contact them. Let them know you are a college student looking to do an internship, that you’ve done some research and are very interested in learning how you can intern with their company.
Download a free copy of my Internship Manual Tracker. This tracker keeps you organized on your internship search. You will find an action sheet to keep track of the companies you are applying to, a calendar so you know what you should be doing no matter the time of year.
When I was in college, I completed eight internships, some with big companies and some with small. No matter where the internship opportunity is, you have the ability to learn, observe, ask questions, and contribute to a company or organization. If you embrace the opportunity you can come away with what you realize later was your dream internship.
4) Do online searches
There are many job boards where companies post their available internships. Start with the sites listed belo that focus on internships.
This is by no means an exhaustive list of the online search options. As you compile your list of companies that you are interested in interning for, visit their websites as well.
Follow the top companies you are interested in on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instragram, Twitter and any other social media they use. Create a LinkedIn profile today if you don’t’ have one already.
5. Apply to Divesrity Internship Recruitment Programs
Internship recruitment programs often require a competitive application process to gain admission. The process is worth it considering that the majority of these experiences provide paid internships and connect you directly to major companies or government agencies. Once a part of a program you generally have the additional advantage of support before, during and after your internship experience. You become a part of a large network that extends beyond your college network. Subscribe to my Diversity Internship Directory to see a comprehensive listing of diverse internship opportunities. There are others program like the Washington Center Internship program as well.
Get started on finding your dream internship and becoming a superstar intern, right now!