Summer 2023 is a whole year from now. As many upper-year students would agree, regardless of how much time you have to apply for the upcoming semester, it doesn’t matter… it is almost never enough! So how can you set yourself up for success?
Firstly find out what you want to do. This is one of the most crucial steps of the process and one that is normally overlooked. As a student, what are your goals after university and how can this summer give you the experience to achieve them? Or alternatively, if you do not know what your goals are, how can this experience help you figure them out?
The answer is almost always defaulted to a private internship. However this being the most basic solution means there is normally a more tailored experience out there if you spend a little longer looking.
So, what is out there?
If you are interested in continuing with your course-focused education during the summer, studying on campus is probably best. There are several courses offered by Tech during summer semesters for all students to participate in. An extension of this would be participating in a study abroad, either at GT Lorraine or at other research institutes associated with Tech, or as an exchange student.
There are internships which has its own pros and cons. Of all summer experiences outside of Tech, Tech does the best in assisting students in landing any internship that may be of interest. Communicate intent with your advisor and Office of International Education to ensure you select the best program you are applying for.
Interested in working with a professor or trying to solve fundamental problems? Research allows for that kind of flexibility. Rather than just limiting your search to research done by professors in your major, feel free to explore outwards. As we progress, research is becoming ever more interdisciplinary in and outside of Tech and therefore students hold a large power when it comes to deciding a lab they are interested in. Other options that exist include Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REUs) at other institutions or even fellowships offered to students. Interacting with Tech Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) is a good place to start, though they tend to blanket all forms of research.
Want to commit to a government job or work on pressing national problems? Government facilities are always looking for students, either for internships, fellowships or research experience.
You are not just limited to the Department of Defence or Navy, as there are several national labs like Sandia or National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) that are sponsored by the Department of Energy or Commerce.
They normally recruit at career fairs with an application similar to that of an internship.
Finally, the most common summer experience found at Georgia Tech – an internship. Here, one normally works in a private company on a predetermined project, hopefully providing valuable expertise.
Other than informing a student on how the workplace operates, it also provides good insights on social skills required to succeed regardless of post graduation path.