9 Common Mistakes Students Make When Applying for Internships

Have you been searching for your dream internship, but feel like you’re not sure what employers really want from you? Internships are becoming essential to college students who want to work in their field straight out of college, because the experience that is gained in an internship is valuable and making those industry connections is vital. College experience is good, but actual work experience is even better.

There are many mistakes that you can make when applying for internships, but here are some of the most common ones (and how to avoid them).

1. Not Applying to Enough Internships

The truth is that you are not going to get every internship you apply for. To prepare for this, you need to apply for more than just the one that seems the most ideal to you. Applying for one internship is definitely the easiest thing to do, and if you get a job, that’s even better on you, but the chances of getting your dream internship on the first try is very low. Apply for a bunch of internships to raise these chances.

Another pro tip: Don’t get too picky. Sure, the “I’ll take any internship!” track isn’t the right mentality either, but don’t turn down internships that aren’t absolutely perfect or don’t meet every single one of your nice-to-haves.

2. Waiting Too Long to Apply

It’s not hard to put off a date for so long that you completely forget to apply by the application deadline. Yes, most internships require you to apply in a very short window of time, but this gives you ample time to prepare your application and write your cover letter for that company. Procrastination will not help you get that dream internship you’ve been scavenging for.

3. Not Following Up

Employers aren’t perfect; they can forget about you, just like you can forget about them. Following up with the employer after you send the application to them will ensure that they know who you are and won’t forget to take you into consideration when they are appointing their internship positions.

When should you follow up after submitting an application? Give it at least five to seven days, then send a quick three-sentence “Hey, just checking in!” email.

4. Not Sending a Cover Letter

If an employer gives you space for an optional cover letter or a place to include an attachment, write a cover letter and send it over. You have absolutely nothing to lose by doing this, but you have so much to gain. Companies want to know exactly why you are applying for certain positions. This will only help your chances and show the employer how worthy you are of the position you are applying for.

Never written a cover letter before? Check out our tips in the WayUp Guide.

5. Depending on Other People to Recommend You for a Position

We all have those friends who say they can get us an internship or job for the summer, but we also know that they can never follow through with their promises. Depending on other people is never a good idea when it comes to furthering your professional career, so don’t lean on anyone’s shoulders but your own. Get down to the nitty-gritty and do your research on different internships. Yes, it’s okay to have a friend send some emails, but don’t put all of your eggs in that one basket.

6. Not Cleaning Your Social Media

The last thing an employer needs to see is the distasteful tweets you made about the most recent election. They would much rather see your professionalism on display in all aspects, including your social media. Make sure you go through your archives and delete anything that an employer would not like to see. They check your social media–it’s not as private as you might think.

7. Not Following Application Instructions

This is important: The first impression that you’re going to give an employer is the way you followed the instructions of the application they provided. If you aren’t careful and mess up on even one part of the application, this will be a massive blow to your chances of getting the internship.

8. Only Applying to One Type of Company

Facebook and Google have enough applicants; why don’t you try applying for smaller companies? On the flip side, if all of your previous work experiences are with smaller organizations, it might be time to see how the corporate life would treat you.

Branching out not only diversifies your resume but also gives you a number of new experiences to consider as you continue to figure out what you want to do after graduation.

9. Using an Outdated Resume

Make sure that the resume you send to your dream internship contains everything that you’ve done up to the point of when you sent the application. Add everything that would be relevant, and always check your resume before you send it.

And another thing: make sure you create a custom resume for every single position you apply for! Your resume should be highlighting things that the company specifically calls out in its internship listing, and not doing this could be the factor that separates you from getting to the interview round and becoming just another app in the pile.

Get those applications out. You never know what internships you might land; just make sure you avoid these mistakes at all costs, whether you’re applying for your dream internship or your dream career.

The Lazy Student’s Guide to Eating Cheaply in College

It’s been an insane day starting with class and ending with studying; the only thing left to do is make up for those meals that you skipped, while you were busy doing work, but while you’re waiting in line at Chick-fil-A, you realize your bank account is drained from all of the textbooks you just bought, and you’re standing there, confused and hungry.

It’s time to start learning to eat cheaply. I know what you’re thinking: There’s no time and it’ll be way too much work! Well, you’re in luck. There are tons of ways to eat on a shoestring budget, especially in college. Take these tips into consideration as you start learning how to cook at home, and you’ll be on your way to culinary and financial freedom in no time.

1. Invest in Cooking Appliances and Utensils


Start out with the essentials, like forks, knives, spoons, and basic pots and pans (a frying pan and medium pot will do). Eventually, you will reach a point where whisks, meat tenderizers and sauce pots will become essential, but start with the basics, and work your way up as you get used to the life of cooking.

2. Shop in Bulk for Cooking Ingredients


Tired of going to the store and paying exuberant prices for individual items and small portions? Start to perfect the art of shopping in bulk. Some stores offer bulk shopping options, such as Costco and Sam’s Club, as well as many local grocery stores.

3. Learn to Spot Cheap, Filling Meals


Cheap meals are everyone’s best friend, but sometimes those meals aren’t so filling. Focus on getting a lot of protein and good carbs into your body, like rice and beans; canned beans or even beans in bulk are extremely cheap and provide a ton of nutrition and protein for your body, while the rice offers healthy carbs. If you want to be even more healthy, throw in some veggies!

4. Keep Track of Sales in Grocery Stores


Many grocery stores offer weekly sales on certain food and drink items. They have recently made it even easier by adding these sale schedules to iPhones and Androids apps, so download these apps, and get ready to improve your savings on a weekly basis.

5. Utilize the Community Kitchen If You’re in a Dorm or Similar Situation


Older dorms don’t offer the amenities of having a kitchen in your dorm hallway or room, but most universities offer community kitchen spaces in their dormitory buildings. Yes, it might be awkward to have to lug your cooking supplies around your dorm, but think about the chances of meeting new friends and fellow chefs in your building!

 6. Search for Coupons, Coupons, Coupons


This goes hand-in-hand with downloading grocery store apps, but you can have these coupons mailed to you as well. You might not completely love the idea of having to use coupons to pay for your food, but this will save you loads of money in the long run.

7. Buy a Reusable Water Bottle


I had to learn the hard way how expensive buying plastic water bottles from the store can be in the long run. Not only is this a waste of plastic and a serious harm to the environment, but it costs a significant amount of money to stay stocked with them. Consider buying a Nalgene or Hydro Flask; both are reusable water bottles that can save you a ton of money and help the environment at the same time.

8. Watch for Free Food on Campus


Organizations on campus are notorious for giving away free food–they understand the struggle that is finding cheap meals in college. Check your college’s events page to see which organizations will be giving away free food. This will also provide you the chance to get involved with helpful organizations that understand students.

9. Avoid Straying From Your List


We’ve all done it: We go to the grocery store on an empty stomach, only to empty our bank accounts too. Whenever shopping at a grocery store, make a list beforehand and stick to it as best you can. Sure, you’ll find items you forgot to include on the list, but make sure that these items are absolutely necessary and fill up on a snack before you start shopping.

10. Use Freezers


Is your food that you just bought already expiring? Don’t waste your food and money like this. Throw some of that food into the freezer; the freezer will preserve the food and slow the aging process of it significantly. Having a freezer will be your life saver when you don’t use some of your food quick enough.

Put down your meal plan card and stop dipping into your savings to pay for meals. Utilize the tips in this guide, and you’ll be on your way to financial stability when it comes to the food you need!

9 Smart Ways to Boost Your Productivity Now (Based on Science)

Do you ever feel stuck while you’re working on homework for that annoying math class you didn’t even want to take? Regardless of what you’re working on, there’s good news: Science is here to give you a lift.

There are so many ways to create an environment around you that will increase your productivity and help you stay focused on what you have to do. Even better, all of these methods have been studied and tested for maximum impact.

1. Decorate Your Workspace With Cool Colors


For those of you who have no idea what “cool” colors are, think blue, green and purple. These colors are much more relaxing to the eye than warm colors like red, orange and yellow. This article about the psychology of color breaks down the way our brains receive each set of colors.

If you surround your workspace with colors that provide you with a sense of calm, you’re bound to stay focused on what is in front of you rather than what is around you–on the contrary, if you surround yourself with warms colors, you will not only have the tendency to look around more often and become distracted, but the colors will make you feel rushed while you are working since they are so bright and warm. 

2. Clean Your Workspace Often


If you’re trying to keep your creative side in check, maybe keep some of the clutter, but if you’re looking to increase your general productivity, clean that desk. This scientific study provides the differences between sets of people who keep their desk clean and the ones who embrace the mess. Your desk is your home and where the magic happens, so don’t neglect the cleanliness of your space; keep it clear and ready for a new project, and when you’re done with that project, clean it again for the next one.

3. Eliminate Distractions


You know exactly what these distractions include: Social media, texts, calls, and television; the list goes on. Science tells us that answering these distractions will only put us back even further from our work. How do you stay on track? You may have to take drastic measures, like taking your television out of the room where you study the most or switching your phone to airplane mode when you’re trying to get work done.

This could also mean putting on a pair of headphones and listening to white noise instead of music, just to drown out the sounds around you that could distract you.

4. Create a List


Whether it be on a sticky note, in a calendar or on your hand, creating a list of things to do will help you stay focused and keep you organized. When we, as humans, are faced with the struggle of having too many things to do at once, we lose sight of the one we’re currently doing to stress about when will we do the others, causing a massive rush to get the first one done. An organized list will help to alleviate this pressure. Alan Henry touches upon this in his studies.

5. Use Natural Lighting


Not only is this backed by science to help you increase your productivity, but it keeps your skin and your immune system healthy as well; any amount of time spent in natural sunlight will add to your body’s nutrient levels. Make sure your desk is near a window, let sunshine come right on through and voilà! You’ve got yourself a perfect workspace that also aids your immune system.

6. Stay Away from Your Bed


Don’t even play yourself–you know for a fact that if you start doing a few study sessions in bed, you’re going to fall asleep and wonder how you ended up in the terrible predicament you’re now in. If you’re going to sleep, use your bed. If you’re studying, avoid those pillows and sheets like they are the black plague in cotton form. Nothing good will come out of studying or working near your bed. This article outlines the entire trouble of studying on your bed.

7. Take Frequent Breaks


Give yourself a break. Overworking yourself will do absolutely no good, and studies show that those who overwork themselves accomplish many of their assignments, but don’t put all of their effort and ability into what they do. Whether this means taking some time to walk around your campus or neighborhood to catch a breath of fresh air or playing ultimate frisbee with a few of your friends, take that break.

But this is just as important: Set limits to the breaks you take, because they could easily become methods of procrastination.

8. Eat Healthy Snacks


You’re going to need energy to stay productive. This comes in the form of healthy foods, such as vegetables, fruits and other foods that are high in healthy nutrients; science proves that eating healthy will increase your productivity to a new maximum. Personally, I like to keep a bag of almonds next to my computer when I work to give myself some protein and natural energy, but to each his own.

9. Look at Pictures of Baby Animals


This is no joke: Pictures of baby animals are proven by Japanese scientists to increase productivity in whatever you’re doing. Though they have no clue why this occurs, the scientists have done enough tests to see that productivity is heightened when pictures of baby animals are presented. So, take that break and look at a picture of a cute baby panda.

Your productivity is something you can control with these simple methods. If you’re reading this article to procrastinate what you have to do at the moment, close this page, get going and heed the advice science has provided. You won’t be able to finish until you get started. 

5 Students Weigh in on the Best Things They Did to Make Friends in College

Making friends in college is tough, no matter the size of the campus you’re on, but everyone knows that having friends in school is a must. You can’t just ride through college feeling alienated and alone; there needs to be a balance between your school life and social life.

So, how do you make friends? There’s no perfect formula, and often you’ll hear people talk about “just meeting people,” but that’s easier said than done. Luckily, plenty of other students have been where you are now, and they’re giving great concrete advice for how to actually make friends.

1. They Were Honest About Their Values and Interests


“Coming out and being true to myself and to my friends my freshman year of college was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. After coming out I was able to be the most authentic version of myself, and since then have only sought to attract equally authentic people. Our friendships can only be as transparent as we are with ourselves and each other.” – Marine, Marymount Manhattan College ‘18

There is a lot we don’t know about ourselves when we enter into the scary abyss that is college and the real world, but figuring those things out and being authentic and unapologetic about who you really are will eventually help you make close friendships.

What do you really like to do? What makes your face light up every time you talk about it? Pursue these interests and be open with people about what you want to pursue. You’ll be surprised at how many similar people come out of the woodwork.

2. They Joined Organizations That They Care About


“I found organizations that I’m passionate about, and from there I was able to make genuine connections. Whether it be a Greek organization, a philanthropy organization, or an honors organization, there’s a place for everyone in their school.” – Rita, Florida International University ‘18

Every school has a wide variety of organizations that are there for your benefit. Your school doesn’t know you’re interested, so you need to be proactive and find different organizations that mean something to you.

There are so many ways to find organizations within schools; at some schools, there is a specific website that manages the organizations tied to the university. Facebook groups and club fairs are two other great ways to find out about different events and organizations.

For instance, if you are interested in writing, google your school newspaper and email the editor-in-chief. You’ll be sure to find out more through the members.

3. They Accepted Discomfort and Put Themselves Out There


“Finding discomfort in my environment brought with it a great deal of joy, whether it was slipping into meetings where I didn’t know anyone or joining a church that I heard from a friend of a friend. It was awkward, but it was the most rewarding thing I did.” – Amanda, University of Central Florida ‘17

There’s never going to be a right time to do anything, especially when it comes to going to events that are foreign to you. Take comfort in knowing that there are people out there that want to know you and want you to walk through those doors.

For example, if you live in a dorm, go to the dorm study hall on your floor and start conversation. If you live off campus, go to the library or student union and join in on whatever looks exciting. Stretch your comfort zone.

4. They Kept Their Doors Open (Literally!)


“Since it is a new beginning for everyone, everyone will be shy, awkward, passive, and so on. I kept my door open when I was in the room, and over time people would come in and chat. Luckily, I had hall mates that would do the same for me.” – Devante’,  Michigan State University ‘18

If you want others to be warm and open to you, be warm and open to them. Open your dorm room door and let others come to you if you don’t want to be the one to approach others.

But if you want to be the one to walk into the open doors of others, that’s just as friendly and shows that you truly care. And don’t think keeping your door wide-open is dorky; some people may feel this way, but they would quickly change their opinion if they started good conversation with someone who had their door open.

5. They Took Advantage of Experiences to Travel Off-Campus


“When you travel with people, you get to know each other very quickly; it was useful in making strong friendships with people I otherwise wouldn’t have met. It was also a break from school, where people don’t really have time to just hang out, because we were taking ‘classes,’ but in reality most of the time we were just exploring new cities together.” – Flavia, Harvard University ‘18

Travel and study through your school and you’ll be surprised how many like-minded individuals you’ll find on these trips. Whether it’s students from other countries or students you made the trek to other countries with, you’re bound to find friends through these circumstances.

If the finances of studying abroad are too much for you to handle (and let’s be real: it’s a little too much for most people), check your school’s organizations to see if they provide volunteering opportunities that require travel. Whether those volunteering events are in other countries or right around the corner from your school, you’ll meet like-minded individuals who are passionate about what you’re passionate about.

Go out there, make connections, and be true to yourself and others. Friendships are built upon these simple notions. Go get uncomfortable and leave your door open while you’re at it.