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Summer after Freshmen year

runallday4runallday4 597 replies116 threads Member
edited October 2013 in College Life
Background: I'm a CS major with a minor in Bio, and I'm hoping to either go to grad school for bioinformatics, or go into industry in CS. Also, I'm currently working in a research lab.

I was going to apply for Summer REU positions or something like that, but I just found out I also have the option of living with my best friends all summer and getting some kind of summer job like a waiter or something. How important is the summer after your freshman year? Should I try to get an REU? Or should I go with my friends?

I would also want to get an internship in CS, but I've heard that's nearly impossible until after your sophomore year unless you've been programming for years (I haven't).

I'm leaning towards my friends since I'll already have research experience.

Thanks for any advice!
edited October 2013
4 replies
Post edited by runallday4 on
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Replies to: Summer after Freshmen year

  • nanotechnologynanotechnology 2503 replies23 threads Senior Member
    You say you already have research experience, but what does that actually mean? You need extensive experience to get into graduate school. I would at least try to get an REU. With just one year under your belt, this can be tough, but I think it's at least worth applying, and if you don't get any then you can spend your summer with your friends. But you will have to apply to A LOT of them. They are usually extremely competitive. Even if you don't get one, though, going through the application process is a really good experience for doing the same type of thing in the future.
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  • lullababylullababy 718 replies123 threads Member
    Do you need the money? Can you do summer REU positions another summer? Do you want to maybe spend this summer having fun, and spend the rest of the summers in serious mode?

    It's very good experience to do things career related in the summers, but you do have more summers ahead of you. You also have within the school year to obtain an internship as well -- so you have another 3 years (6 semesters) worth of internships you can get without summer anythings. You just kind of need to weigh on what you think is better for you.

    I'm assuming grad school would look at the summer REU thing highly, but entering the CS workforce after graduation wouldn't care as much because it's a more flexible field from what I have seen (in the sense that if you have the skills people desire and more, you're golden).
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  • boysx3boysx3 4993 replies174 threads Senior Member
    One thing to think about--it's a good thing to have fun while you still can, but realize that next summer when you decide to "get serious" you will be competing for desirable positions against a lot of other students--and some of those will come out on top because they will already have real experience on their resumes.

    My son was fortunate to obtain a great internship for the summer after his freshman year. It set him up for the string of great internships that followed, from the fall of sophomore year on.
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  • runallday4runallday4 597 replies116 threads Member
    You say you already have research experience, but what does that actually mean?
    I work in a lab during the school year doing research. Also, I don't really need the money, but I think both experiences would result in around the same amount of money.
    Right now, spending the summer with my friends sounds a lot more fun, I just don't want to be screwed next year when I try to get an internship over the summer in CS.

    My thinking was that since I'm doing research freshmen year during school I'm already kind of ahead, so it's not as necessary for me to do it over the Summer.

    Obviously I'd rather go spend the summer with friends, but if that's going to cost me a lot in the future then I'd choose not to. Advice?
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