Is your high schooler or college student thinking about what he will be doing this summer? He needs to be!  The hunt for high school and college summer jobs is in full swing, with deadlines for many opportunities coming up very soon.  (Note for next year: the best time to start looking around is in early January, because some deadlines are in January and February.) While a summer internship can a great resume builder, more importantly it gives your son the opportunity to experience working in the real world, optimally in an area that interests him, and can help shape his decisions about career direction. offers info about summer job opportunities in NYC and Philadelphia. Some of the deadlines have already passed, but many are still ahead.  Check this out even if you don’t live in these areas, they might give you ideas as to where he can look in his locale.  Also encourage him to check out  local museums (art, science, history) which focus on his areas of interest; they often offer student internships. (A side note: is a generally helpful site for parents we recently stumbled upon which suggests kids activities, attractions, classes and playspots  in a variety of cities including NYC, Boston, Philadelphia, Houston and Los Angeles.  A good site to explore if you are traveling and want to find things to do! )

Please, DON’T freak out if your child hasn’t focused on this yet, but DO encourage him to start thinking NOW about what kind of summer experience he would like to have.  A paid internship is the most sought after of course, but he might also want to consider an unpaid opportunity to work in his dream field if the economics allow.   If he can consider unpaid internships as well this enables him to focus more specifically on what interests him, and potentially have an amazing summer experience.

Case in point: my youngest son (a high schooler)  is a HUGE professional soccer fan, and wrote to the local team asking if he could work for them in any capacity.  It took a bit of adult intervention to get his letter into the right hands, but ultimately he got a job as a runner for the team photographer during the home games.  He had a dream-come-true spot on the sidelines during the games, and got to see some of what happens behind the scenes with a professional sports team.  No salary, but his experience of going for that position, getting it, and working with the team was invaluable.

Does your son want or need an academic experience this summer?  Now is the time to focus on that as well.  Check with his school, as they may have a listing of recommended programs.  Ask other mothers, as personal recommendations can really help identify good programs.  Whatever his plans, now is the time to help him put them in place.