What are you looking for in a campus? A big or small school? A public or a private school? A school that is located near parks, beaches, or the city? These are all important considerations to make as you narrow down your college choices.
You want to ensure that you are making the decision that feels right for you! When deciding what school is right for you, it is important to do research regarding a school that meets your wants and needs.
Key factors to consider when choosing a school to attend are geographic location, academic majors available, school size, overall cost, campus environment, resources available, and academic quality. These factors will help narrow your list down to the best option for your personal and academic needs.
Choosing a college to attend is not an easy decision, so we’ve also listed a few tips to compare colleges and narrow down your list:
- Make a college list
- Weigh your wants vs your needs
- Take campus tours either virtual or in person
- Compare financial aid packages
- Write a pro/ con list for each of the colleges
Wherever you choose to go to college, the Let’s Go team is always a click away and ready to help!
To learn tips on why and how to consider the campus environment when comparing schools, download this guide Campus Environment. Guide provided by DecidED
Volunteering can help you determine what fields interest you. This can be beneficial if you are unsure of what paths/fields you want to go into or even if you have multiple interests. Now that you know why volunteering is important, where do you start? At first it can be overwhelming because there is no “right” way to begin volunteering or where to look. Look no further! Let’s Go has created this blog to guide you through some steps you can take to find a place for you!
How to Volunteer
- Think about fields that interest you. Medicine, education, law? After you have a vague idea, you can begin searching! It does not have to be super specific (remembering that volunteering is for exploring).
- Use Google to find organizations near you! A simple google search can reveal cites you may have been unaware of entirely. Try something as simple as “immigration law office near
Explore your interests
If you’re still unsure of your interests, you can volunteer to start narrowing your focus. It’s a good idea to expose yourself to what’s out there. In addition, employers and graduate schools alike value experience strongly; the sooner you find a sector/field to grow in, the more impressive you can be!
Now it’s time to enhance your skills! When you begin volunteering, you may find that your responsibilities grow. You will develop skills that school is sometimes unable to teach you. Additionally, these skills are often transferable and can be taken with you at multiple jobs!
Boost your resume
Not to mention, volunteer experience looks great on your resume. It lets employers know that you care about local organizations! Also, it is a good idea to begin volunteering during your high school years or early college years so that you can eventually begin applying for paid internships.
Organizations and companies have tons of connections. belonging to these networks will allow you to have connections within this field that can lead to bigger opportunities.
Let’s Get Started
- First, find your interests:
- Brainstorm the fields that interest you.
- Then, google organizations near you:
- Use Google to find organizations near you! Try something as simple as “immigration law office near me.”
- Finally, send emails:
- Now, go to their website and email them to ask about volunteer opportunities.
- After finding a contact email, try a template like this:
Template for sending an email
This is just one example to get you started! In addition, you can also search up templates for free on Google.
” Hello [person you are addressing]!
My name is [your name] and I am a current [grade level] at [your school]. I am writing to express interest in your organization/company. I have always been interested in [the field the organization is in]. Is there space at [organization/company name] for me to volunteer with your day-to-day tasks?
I would love to chat with you about myself and my current abilities. I look forward to hearing back from you!
[your name] ”
Ultimately, volunteering helps you gain experience! You got this. Best of luck! Go put yourself out there!
One of the exciting yet scary things about starting college is that you begin your adulting phase! Having an accurate and realistic budget can help you pay off your necessities while ensuring you have wiggle room to treat yourself! While budgeting can sometimes be daunting, it is essential as we are now responsible for managing our own money.
Here we will break down how to set a budget that works for you into five phases:
Phase one: Find out what your monthly income is
Your monthly income can come from a regular paycheck, allowance, and side gigs. If you receive a steady paycheck, make sure you are calculating your after-tax income rather than your gross income (before taxes). If you are self-employed or have side gigs, subtract anything that reduces that income, such as business expenses and take in consideration irregular income.
Phase two: Tracking and categorizing expenses
Once you know your monthly income, it is time to figure out your expenses. You can look at your credit card and bank statements to see how you’re spending your money. While doing this, categorize your expenses to determine which are fixed (e.g., rent) and which vary (e.g., groceries, shopping)
Phase three: Setting realistic goals
Before creating a budgeting plan, you need to list short-term and long-term financial goals. Short-term goals should take one to three years to achieve, while long-term goals may take decades. We understand that a decade sounds like a long time, but Diamonds by Rihanna was released a decade ago…
Now that we got that out of the way, short-term goals can be setting up an emergency fund or saving up for a vacation after the school year, while long-term goals could be saving up for retirement. Your financial plans do not need to be official, but knowing them can help motivate you to stick to your budget!
Phase four: Choosing a budgeting plan
There are many budgeting plans, but the most beginner-friendly program is the 50/30/20 rule. The 50/30/20 rule allows you to divide expenses into three categories by percentages. You spend 50% of your after-tax income on your necessities (e.g., rent, minimum payments), no more than 30% on wants (e.g., takeout), and at least 20% on savings (e.g., emergency fund). Check out the 50/30/20 calculator by Nerdwallet to get started. Remember that wants and needs vary by individual, someone’s daily coffee may be a want while another person may see it as a need.
Phase five: Adjust and review your budget
Congrats! You have set a budget. If you go over your budget, it happens! A budget is meant to be flexible because these scenarios do happen. Adjust your budget to ensure your necessities are taken care of first to get back on track. You may need to change your budget, but it should return to normal.
Bay Area Scholarships
The Minerva Scholarship Program
- All California residents may apply and will be considered
- Applicants must be enrolled full-time in an accredited college for the 2023-2024 academic year
- Minimum GPA of 2.5
- Self-identify as female
- Up to 108 one-time $2,500 scholarships
- One $10,000 scholarship
YPE SF Bay Area Scholarship Program
- Full-time or part-time students pursuing an Associates or Undergraduate degree with an interest in entering the energy/climate space
- Demonstrated financial need (e.g., FAFSA student aid and report)
- Active academic enrollment at a college or university in Northern California in the fall of 2023.
- Academic record (official or unofficial transcript)
Did you guys know that internship experiences definitely spice up your resume, leading to an increased chance towards a job offer? According to FinancesOnline, “57.5% of students who experienced internship and 43.5% of graduating students without internship exposure got a job offer” (College Recruiter, 2019). Well, having previous internship experience has various types of benefits, including but not limited to, being able to land a job faster than those who do not and kickstarting your professional resume. So how does one even land an internship as a college student, you may ask. That’s why we, the Let’s Go to College Team are here to help!
Here are some platforms you can use to secure an internship opportunity:
Handshake- Handshake is one powerful platform that is beneficial to college students looking for an internship, jobs, work-study, or other jobs on campus. Handshake is great at its customization and curation towards your school and your own personalized experiences. For example, it tailors job recommendations, and notifications based on your needs and preferences within the platform. Handshake is great at aligning jobs and internships that best fit your career goals and interests.
LinkedIn– LinkedIn has job boards that allow you to find internships based on your preferences towards things such as location, industry, and preferred duration. As LinkedIn is a very professional webpage, it allows you to stay updated on job and internship postings regarding desired companies. LinkedIn allows students to connect with potential employers and professionals within their desired field, proving their platform to leverage their network, leading us towards another important way to gain internships: career fairs.
Career Fairs– Let’s talk about Career Fairs! Most commonly known as job fairs, career fairs are when recruiters, employers, and other schools come and display themselves for potential employees. In the higher education industry, schools provide a career fair to help students explore opportunities for their future by introducing the several career options out there.
Here are some tips and tricks from the Let’s Go Team:
- Research the organization
Identify the top 3-5 companies you are interested in, but remember to be open to different companies you may not have heard of because they may be a startup or business-to-business organization that doesn’t directly serve consumers.
Do your research by reviewing company websites. Look for their mission, values, location, and the type of available opportunities (e.g., internships, full-time positions, etc.). Company representatives are impressed by potential candidates who take the time to do this!
- Prepare your introduction and questions
Reflect on what it is about each company that resonates with you. Perhaps it’s the specific technology they’re developing, the research they’re leading, or the world problem they’re trying to solve. What relevant experiences do you have? How can you be of service to that organization? Exercise critical thinking skills to develop questions to ask recruiters and hiring managers. From these questions, you may even use them to practice and develop your interview answers.
- Dress to impress!
Be professional, and wear professional clothes to impress your potential employer! Each industry and each company has different work attire expectations and organizational culture. Do your research, and ask mentors in advance for any other advice!
It is important for you to start your search early and apply to multiple internships to increase your chances of securing one. You should also tailor your resumes and cover letters to match the specific requirements of each internship and prepare for interviews to make a positive impression on potential employers. We wish you the best of luck in landing an internship!