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Tracking Shows Delivered, But No Package!

Porch Pirates are Real

When it comes to receiving a much-anticipated package, chances are you are eagerly monitoring its tracking to your doorstep. Then, if your tracking shows your item as “delivered”, but you haven’t received it, you’re going to be frustrated. At first, you may not know if the item is stolen or simply lost. Although it won’t truly help, you may take some comfort in knowing that you’re not alone. A 2019 report showed that 36% of all consumers had a package lost or stolen – and the average consumer orders 45 packages a year. That’s a lot of lost packages.

Right away, here’s a breakdown of how most people handle this situation:

  • 83% of people contact the seller
  • 60% contact the carrier (UPS, USPS, FedEx, etc.)
  • 48% check with their neighbors
  • 13% call the police

You can also take further comfort in the knowledge that, if you report a package as stolen,  around 11% of the time the porch pirate is caught. So first, take a deep breath, then proceed below.

Tracking Numbers

It may sound obvious, but first look closely at your tracking number. Packages change hands from one carrier to another all the time, and it is sometimes hard to tell which carrier is tracking the actual delivery. For this reason, it’s best to first identify which type of tracking number you have in order to accurately track the delivery.

How to tell which carrier’s tracking number you actually have:

  • UPS – begins with “1Z”.
  • FedEx Ground & Express – 12 digits (no letters). 

PRO TIP: Your FedEx tracking number is also the 21st through 34th number of the barcode.

  • USPS – 22-34 digits (no letters).
    • USPS Priority Mail Select –13 characters long, beginning with two letters and ending with “US”.
  • UPS Mail Innovations Sequence Number – 18 digits assigned internally by UPS Mail Innovations or UPS Worldship. 
    • What is UPS Mail Innovations? UPS Mail Innovations is simply a service where the carrier is initially UPS, but then final delivery may be made by the postal service. If you were to track this number on the UPS website, it may only tell you when the item was handed off to USPS. You need to run the tracking number on USPS’s website to see accurate delivery data to the final destination.
  • Amazon Logistics – Amazon uses all of the above carriers for delivery, so you may receive one of the previously mentioned tracking numbers. However, they also deliver themselves via Amazon Logistics, whose tracking numbers start with “TBA”.

Once you know which tracking number you have, visit that specific carrier’s website to check delivery status. 

When is a Package Considered Lost?

Each carrier handles lost packages differently, but generally speaking, you are advised to wait between 2-7 days after the expected delivery date before taking action for a lost package (this is especially true during global pandemics). Sometimes things just arrive late, and Amazon even states that in rare cases, items can show as delivered up to 48 hours before the item actually arrives. 

Here’s a breakdown of how each carrier handles lost packages.

USPS Missing Mail

The USPS says that this is simply “mail that has not been delivered by the expected delivery date.” You first need to wait 7 days past the delivery date before you should take action. Then you can:

  • Try and get to the bottom of it yourself at their Missing Mail Page.
  • File a Missing Mail search request online here. You’ll need to create an account first, but then you’ll receive periodic updates on the search progress.
  • Visit your local Post Office for assistance, where they will help you fill out a paper version of the Missing Mail request.
  • Call 1-800-275-8755. You can then ask for the number of your local Consumer Affairs office and they can submit a missing mail request by phone.

Amazon Missing or Stolen Packages 

At eCampus.com, we do use Amazon to fulfill some of our orders and yes, even Amazon admits that this sometimes happens. Amazon considers an item “lost” after 48 hours past the expected delivery.  After that, they suggest that you take the following steps:

  • Check to see if your package was left with a neighbor or receptionist.
  • Verify the Shipping Address
  • Look for a Sign or Notice of Attempted Delivery
  • Look Around the Delivery Location (sometimes it’s just hidden out of view).
  • If you’re expecting a box, then check the mail, and vice versa. Some packages travel through multiple carriers.

UPS Missing  or Stolen Packages

For deliveries that don’t require a signature, UPS trains their delivery personnel to leave shipments in “a safe place at the drivers discretion”. This could include the front porch, side door, back porch, or garage area. They also state that drivers may leave items “on back porches, bushes, garages, grills, or other places that might protect your package from theft or weather.” 

Then, like the others, UPS requests that you wait 24 hours after the expected delivery date and time before taking action. Unlike USPS and Amazon, UPS does not have any online self-service to help locate packages. 

UPS does have a process for senders to file a UPS lost package claim, however, this is only if the package was sent via UPS the entire way. If the package changes hands (which is frequently the case) from one carrier to another (such as UPS to USPS) during transit, this option is not available. 

FedEx Missing  or Stolen Packages 

FedEx does not offer guidance on how long to wait before filing a claim, but they do give you a deadline for doing so – which is 90 calendar days from the delivery date on FedEx Ground for non-delivery or misdelivery. Like UPS, FedEx offers an online claims process for lost packages. Luckily, this process is entirely online and looks fairly simple to complete:

  1. Visit the FedEx lost package page to file a claim.
  2. Fill out the claim form. (You’ll need your tracking number.)
  3. Add supporting documentation for the item’s value.

PRO TIP: You don’t need to provide this documentation if the item is under $100 in value.

  1. Submit.
  2. Track the status of your claim online here.

Some FedEx customers have reported that it’s faster to do this by phone, by calling 1-800-463-3339. You’ll have to say “representative” a few times, and again, you’ll need your tracking number, but then you can speak to a live person who can open a claim for you.

What Does In-Transit Mean?

In-transit means that the item is on its way to you. This can remain the status until your item is successfully delivered. In rare cases, items can get stuck in transit. An item shouldn’t remain in any one sorting facility for more than 5 business days. If this is the case, you can reach out to the carrier and ask them to contact the sorting facility where the package is stuck so they can try to locate it for you.

What Else Can I Do for Stolen Packages?

If you have already tried everything that we’ve mentioned above, here are a few more – let’s say severe – actions you can take. All of these actions are focused towards “stolen” items, since lost packages will be primarily the concern of the carriers themselves.

  1. File a complaint with the Postal Inspection Service. By doing this you are essentially reporting a crime. The only difference between the USPIS and the police (they work together jointly) is that this organization deals exclusively with issues of this sort. Here’s what you can report online through the USPIS:
    • Mail Fraud
    • Identity Theft
    • Mail Theft
    • Suspicious Mail
  2. Use Purchase Protection on your Credit Card. If you purchased with a credit card, you may have purchase protections that cover lost or stolen items. However, there’s always the fine print such as:
    • May not cover items over $500.
    • Claim period is typically 90 days after purchase.
    • You’ll need receipts.
    • You may need to file a police report also.

Here are a few credit card companies that offer some version of purchase protection:

  • Visa Infinite
  • Mastercard
  • American Express
  • Citi
  • Chase

Tips for Preventing Package Theft

If you live in an area with high theft, there are several steps you can take to make it harder for porch pirates to steal your packages.

  1. You can sign up to have items held at the carrier facility rather than have them delivered to your home. 
  2. You can ask carriers to not leave items at the door unless the person is home.
  3. You can sign up for alerts with the carriers to know exactly when items are going to be delivered.
  4. Buy a Security System. This will help in a number of ways:
    1. Help deter, identify & catch theft.
    2. Secure your home from burglars.
    3. Lower homeowners insurance costs.

In Conclusion

As you can see, you have lots of options. Hopefully this will help ease the pain of having a lost or stolen package and give you a clear path forward. Many of these methods may not work for your situation, but it only takes one of these solutions to help you get back either your property or your money. 

Did any of these solutions work for you? Did we miss one? If so, let us know!

Be sure to connect with us @ecampusdotcom on Twitter, Instagram, & Facebook for more resources, tips, and some great giveaways! And when it’s time for textbooks, eCampus.com has you covered for all your course material needs at savings up to 90%!

The Incoming College Freshman Checklist (What to Bring to College)

Congratulations, you’re officially a college freshman! This is both an exciting and frightening transition for most students. There are many things to do in the summer before college, and it can be difficult to know how to get ready. There are things to pack, people to say goodbye to, and forms to fill out. 

For those already stressing over this new life chapter, there are plenty of ways to prepare before even stepping foot in a classroom or dorm. We’ve compiled a list of all of the important must-do items, so if you work through it a little at a time – you’ll be done before you know it!

Before you arrive on campus, use the following checklist to make sure you stay on track:

1. Make a Commitment

Once you’ve made your decision about which college to attend, you’ll need to commit to that college. You may be able to do this online or you may have to do it in writing.

You’ll need to send in your deposit, complete and accept the financial aid application, and fill out any health forms that are required the summer before college. Be sure to read the information closely and promptly respond to all of the forms you receive from your college so as to not miss any deadlines. 

Read through your acceptance letter completely and take note of important dates. Dates to keep in mind may include:

  • Deadline to accept admission (and pay the acceptance fee, if applicable) 
  • Deadline to submit final high school transcript 
  • Deadline to take placement tests 
  • Deadline to apply for housing 
  • Deadline to file your financial aid documents 
  • Deadline to sign up for orientation 

2. Establish Housing

Since many colleges require incoming freshmen to live in dorms, chances are high you’re going to have a roommate. Whether you are living on campus in a dorm or off campus in an apartment or house, make sure you have your housing lined up as early as possible. If you’re staying on campus, see if you can request housing that is close to your classes so you can save time each day. 

If your college has assigned a roommate, reach out by phone, connect through social media, get to know each other, and coordinate on furnishing and decorating your dorm. 

If you are looking for off-campus housing, make sure you check out several locations that meet your budget and your needs. Also, be sure to read your lease in its entirety, so you know what your landlord expects.

3. Schedule a Campus Tour

You can walk around the campus on your own, but scheduling a guided tour will give you more insight into the different areas of campus and what you can expect on your first day. While you’re exploring campus, make sure you note where the emergency points and security office are located. Both parents and students should take time before the semester begins to become familiar with the campus’ safety resources and procedures.

If you’re attending a college out of state, use this time to explore your new location. Now’s the time to research the popular restaurants, the nearest theaters and music venues, the parks in your proximity; to research the history, culture, and local population; and to identify some of the neighborhoods, landmarks, attractions, and adjacent towns worth seeing.

4. Register for Orientation

Orientation for incoming students may be mandatory at your college, but if it isn’t – try your best to attend anyway. This is especially important if you haven’t been able to visit the college beforehand. Register for an early orientation to (hopefully) get the classes you want, as well as to familiarize yourself with the campus and to see your official dorm and cafeteria options firsthand.

Orientation is a crucial time to start making friends, research clubs and organizations, and get to know your campus environment. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to ask questions and get involved. It’s important to note that everyone is going through the same thing, so don’t be shy – try to make as many connections as you can. 

5. Practice Life Skills

Your parents are most likely not heading off to college with you. This means you are responsible for your cooking, cleaning, and laundry – maybe for the first time in your life. Now is a great time to practice. Take the opportunity to learn how to cook some quick and simple meals, wash and dry your clothing properly, and clean up after yourself. 

Make sure you have established a checking and savings account that you can access to pay bills or withdraw cash as needed. These essential skills will keep your life outside the classroom on track.

6. Visit Your Doctor

Get up to date on all your vaccinations; most colleges require that you submit updated vaccination information before or during your first year.

If you have a regular or essential prescription, work with your doctor to have it transferred before you leave to a pharmacy near your campus, or get a second prescription written. In general, this is a chance to get a clean bill of health, update prescriptions, and ask your doctor any pressing questions before you leave home.

7. Start Networking

If you haven’t done this already, now would be a good time to engage with your college online. It’s a great way to participate in ongoing discussions and also familiarize yourself with the culture and lingo of the college.

One of the best ways to connect with other prospective or accepted freshmen at your university is through social media. Try searching your university with your prospective class year and see if any groups exist. Add your future school onto your profile on Facebook and LinkedIn to help encourage the connections even further.

Use this time to clean up your social media and make sure everything you post online represents your best self.

  • Double check that comments made by you and your friends are positive and professional
  • Make sure all photos (not just your profile image and cover images) are appropriate
  • Set your privacy settings accordingly 

Look for ways to get involved on campus, whether you want to join a club or team (or both). Spend some time researching the clubs and organizations related to your major, or check out some of the varsity, intramural or club sports your school hosts. Get an idea of what’s available before you get to campus so you don’t waste any time once you’re there.

8. Pack, Pack, Pack! 

The best way to feel prepared for your new adventure is knowing you’re fully prepared. Explore our college packing list for dorm room and apartment essentials. 

Before you buy or pack anything, be sure to check with your school about what items are and are not allowed. Most schools have to be very careful about health and safety regulations, and rules differ from place to place. Check out our Official College Packing List (College Must-Haves), which includes dorm room essentials (or apartment essentials), school supplies for college, and other key items for move-in day.

College move-in day can be extremely thrilling and a little scary. Even though moving into the dorms, finding your classes, and adjusting to your new surroundings can be overwhelming, remember to enjoy the experience. You’ll be making friends, discovering new hobbies, and learning more about yourself than ever before in no time!

Be sure to connect with us @ecampusdotcom on Twitter, Instagram, & Facebook for more resources, tips, and some great giveaways! And when it’s time for textbooks, eCampus.com has you covered for all your course material needs at savings up to 90%!

References: 

  1. https://blog.collegeboard.org/summer-before-college-checklist
  2. https://studentaid.gov/resources/prepare-for-college/checklists/12th-grade
  3. https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/get-in/making-a-decision/off-to-college-checklist
  4. https://thebestschools.org/magazine/summer-before-college/
  5. https://www.nitrocollege.com/blog/4-checklists-for-college 

Best Sites to Buy College Textbooks

In the 2018-2019 academic year alone, the National Association of College Stores reported that on average, students spent $415 on required course materials per year. While this may seem high, the cost of required materials has actually fallen -40% since 2007 thanks to online textbook retailers like us (eCampus has been in business since 1999). Despite the high cost of these items, many students do more research on where to go for dinner than they do on where to buy their course materials. 

After COVID-19 closed most physical bookstores worldwide, even more students began the shift to shopping online for course materials. Amazon may be your first choice due to its familiarity and fast shipping. But before you rent a textbook, ask yourself: Does Amazon know what my finals schedule will be? Will I be required to return the book before I’m finished using it? Do they really have the best price?

This is where it might be better to rent your book from a dedicated online textbook retailer like…us. But don’t take our word for it! We’ve compiled a few key factors to consider when shopping for online textbooks. 

Check out our helpful chart below and see how these top 4 online textbook retailers compare to one another.

Top Online Textbooks Sites

Online Textbook Site Comparison

*Updated June 2020

Major Advantages of Using eCampus.com

  • You have the ability to pick the rental due date that best fits your needs! eCampus.com has three rental term lengths (short term, quarter term, and semester) to fit every student’s schedule and the ability to extend or purchase the rental at the end of the rental term. When renting from Amazon or Chegg, you’re only able to choose from one fixed due date set on their site and would be required to pay additional extension fees if you need your book for longer than their due date allows.
  • eCampus.com has an enticing rewards program (eWards), while most other booksellers don’t have a rewards program at all. Earning points with eCampus.com eWards is easy and free. Just sign up using your email address and you are ready to get started. Earn points when you make purchases, refer a friend, follow us on Twitter, and more. Receive exclusive deals on future orders when you trade in your eWards points – you can save up to $20 on your purchase through eWards points redemption. Get started today and start saving money! Learn more here: eCampus.com eWards Program
  • eCampus.com is the most-trusted bookseller among the student community.
  • You can sell your books back to us or on the eCampus.com Marketplace after you’re done. We make it easy to get cash for your old textbooks. Selling your used books to eCampus.com is as simple as getting a quote, selecting your payment method, shipping the books to us (for free), and getting paid. If you want more information about selling your books, click here to view our blog post on everything you need to know when it comes to selling books.
  • You can buy from other students/independent sellers on our marketplace at greatly reduced prices. eCampus.com allows third party individuals, including students, to sell their inventory through our Marketplace.
  • eCampus.com has been in business since 1999 – and leverages unique publisher relationships for the best pricing. Use eCampus.com to save up to 90% off standard publisher list prices.

Commonly Asked Questions

  • Does Amazon Sell Used Books?
    • Yes. Amazon allows for new, used, and rental textbook sales.
  • Can you highlight Amazon Books?
    • Amazon does allow books to be highlighted, however, they say this must be kept to “a minimal amount”. Since this is a very subjective phrase, you must be careful. If you highlight too much, you’ll be paying for the full cost of the book. At eCampus, we tell you exactly what is acceptable – which is no more than ⅓ of the book may be highlighted. 
  • Can you write in Amazon Books?
    • Again, this is allowed, but must be kept to a “minimal amount”. Amazon does not make it clear what exactly that means.
  • How long does Chegg take to ship?
    • Chegg standard delivery is 7 to 10 business days.
  • Is AbeBooks Owned by Amazon?
    • Yes. AbeBooks was purchased by Amazon in December 2008. While Amazon allows textbook rentals, AbeBooks.com does not. 

In Summary

We all have different priorities when it comes to buying things online. Maybe you waited until the last minute and you are needing your book yesterday. In that case, you may look towards Amazon for it’s fast shipping. Maybe you are really strapped for cash and want to get the best deal on a rental and you like to make a few highlights and notes in your book. In that case you probably want to look at eCampus.com.

Whatever your priorities are, we hope this gives you a bit more information to go on when you go to order your textbooks. If you have other questions, our experienced team of customer service agents can help guide you through phone or chat. 

Be sure to connect with us @ecampusdotcom on Twitter, Instagram, & Facebook for more resources, tips, and some great giveaways! And when it’s time for textbooks, eCampus.com has you covered for all your course material needs at savings up to 90%!

9 Money Saving Tips for College Students on a Budget

By: Kayla Gowan

Let’s face it: college is expensive. Between tuition, housing, student fees, transportation, and textbooks – the costs add up quickly. For many college students, this is the first time you have to budget and manage money on your own. 

Managing money and setting budgetary goals may seem like the last things you want to do at the end of a busy day filled with classes and exams, but developing good habits is worth the effort. Managing in-college spending is a learning experience. Fortunately, there are many ways you can save money while in college. 

Here are the nine best money-saving tips for college students:

1. Rent Your Textbooks

Buying textbooks can be one of the biggest expenses every semester. One huge way to save money in college is to rent textbooks instead of buying them! With eCampus.com – you can save up to 90% off the regular price of a new textbook. eCampus.com also has three rental term lengths (short term, quarter term, and semester) to fit every student’s schedule and the ability to extend or purchase the rental at the end of the rental term.

If you’ve already purchased your textbooks, when the semester is over – you can sell your books back to eCampus.com for cash!

2. Apply for Grants and Scholarships

Start by filling out the FAFSA before each new school year, regardless of your family’s financial status, to tap into federal, state and institutional grants and scholarships. 

You can apply for scholarships and grants every year throughout college! It’s a misconception that scholarships are only for first-year students. In fact, many colleges have systems in place that reward students financially for good grades, volunteering, being an active part of the college town community, and many other things. Given that many scholarships go unclaimed (or have very few entries), if you dedicate some time to applying, you could find yourself saving on tuition costs! 

If you’re not sure where to find scholarships, the Federal Student Aid has compiled a list of places to look that you can view here. For more information about how financial aid works, you can read our eCampus blog post here.

3. Create a Budget

If you don’t know where your money is going every month, you’ll never know the true potential of your saving power! Start off small by giving yourself a weekly budget and see how close you come to accurately estimating expenses. Work on creating a realistic budget that you can stick to, incorporating all regular bills or payments. A budget isn’t set in stone and often takes several tries to get right – so keep working on it until you find the right balance!

A lack of structure can keep you from being on top of managing your spending and can mean disaster for your budget. Fortunately, there are a number of free budgeting apps to help.

3 Apps to Help with Budgeting for College Students

  • Mint: This money management and financial planning app lets you see all of your accounts in one place. You can swipe to check your balances or get reminders to pay your bills on time! 
  • Pocketguard: This app lets you see all of your mobile banking, including credit cards, checking and savings, loans, and investments in one place. After you’ve paid the bills, the app tells you how much you have left over, so you can save the rest! 
  • Personal Capital: Like Mint and Pocketguard, this app allows you to see all of your accounts on one platform. On this app, you can see separate graphs of your cash flow (income vs. expenses), your budget (what you’re spending your money on), and your investments.

4. Split the Cost of Rent with Roommates

Living with roommates is the quintessential college experience. This is helpful for many students as you can split the cost of rent and utilities with one or more roommates.

Make a point to know what’s already provided in your future dorm or apartment. Some dorm rooms come equipped with a microwave or small fridge or an ironing board in the laundry facilities. An apartment might already come with appliances or even basic furniture. Coordinate with your roommates before shopping so you’re not double-buying items or buying things you don’t need.

Take good care of your apartment so you don’t forfeit your security deposit at the end of the semester!

5. Cook Your Own Food

Eating at restaurants can be one of the most expensive items in your budget. It’s almost always cheaper to cook than it is to go out to eat. While a dinner for $5-10 may sound cheap, it really does add up over time.

How Much do College Students Spend on Food?

The cost of a meal plan has doubled in the last 10 years. The average college and university charges about $4,500, or $18.75 per day, for a three-meal-a-day dining contract that covers the eight months or so of a typical academic year.

You can probably cook the same meal (and prep for future meals) for about half the price. If you do eat out, go for lunch or happy hour when restaurants are most likely to be offering discounts.

That goes for coffee, too! Let’s say you spend $5 on a daily cup of coffee – this can equal up to $375 per semester. Save the bank by investing in a coffee machine and making your morning brew from home! 

6. Use Public Transportation

Parking, gas, and insurance for your car can quickly add up. Many college campuses have free buses and shuttles that help students get around campus and even to nearby apartments. Some schools even have rentable bikes or scooters for the semester!

If you need public transportation to get around, see if you can get a student pass. Many colleges partner with their local transit authorities and offer student discounts and student passes for busses, subways, trolleys, and more.

7. Use Student Discounts

Don’t leave home without your student ID! Most places offer a student discount – this can include restaurants, shops, movie theaters, theme parks, and more!

Another big expense for college students is technology. Many students want (or need) to get a new laptop. Plus, some classes require their own specific software that you need to install. Often, technology companies offer significant discounts to students – from Apple and Microsoft, to Adobe and more. If you’re getting any type of new computer or software, make sure to buy it through the education store and get your student discount.

Click here is a list of the top 60 discounts available to students right now! If you’re not sure whether a company offers a student discount, there’s no harm in asking. Better “save” than sorry!

8. Utilize Campus Resources

Check out the amenities that are free for students to use on campus. Campus resources are designed to make college easier, but that’s only the case if you use them!

  • Student Gym: working out and staying fit is important in college. Instead of spending money on a gym membership, see if your campus offers the use of the student gym for free. Most campuses have great athletic and gym facilities available to students. Take full advantage!
  • On-Campus Printing: printing is another area that can be costly, with papers eating up ink cartridges at home. Oftentimes, the cost of printing is included in your student facility fees. Check the school library to see if they offer free or discounted printing.
  • Campus Library: one of the most under-used, but best free tools on a college campus is the library. College libraries have everything, including books, computer stations, software, and more. Libraries also offer free spaces to study, meet with group members, or use the computer. 

Other commonly provided resources include tutoring, counseling, childcare, and career services. Check what your college offers before you pay extra for the same service elsewhere.

9. Take Advantage of Campus Activities

Going out every weekend can drain your entertainment budget very quickly. Instead, keep up with what’s happening on campus. Most colleges organize plenty of events throughout the semester, ranging from museum visits, to movie nights, and more for free or discounted rates.

Check the events page on your school website to see what’s up and coming. You can also look for signs and promotions around your campus. These signs often promote free food in an attempt to get students to come. If you do this regularly, you can probably get your lunch taken care of most days! And maybe even learn something! 

Bonus: Attending campus events is a great way to make new friends, too!

While saving money as a college student is not always easy, it is possible with plenty of hard work and a commitment to your financial security and wellbeing. Meeting your budgetary goals will not only help your college experience, but prepare you for a bright financial future!

Be sure to connect with us @ecampusdotcom on Twitter, Instagram, & Facebook for more resources, tips, and some great giveaways! And when it’s time for textbooks, eCampus.com has you covered for all your course material needs at savings up to 90%!

References:

  1. https://turbo.intuit.com/blog/real-money-talk/how-to-save-money-in-college-1539/ 
  2. https://www.debt.org/students/college-budgeting-101/ 
  3. https://www.affordablecollegesonline.org/college-resource-center/student-guide-to-budgeting/ 
  4. https://thecollegeinvestor.com/22453/save-money-in-college/ 
  5. https://www.thesimpledollar.com/financial-wellness/63-quick-tips-to-save-money-in-college/ 

Tips for Scoring a College Internship

College internships are a competitive element of the college experience. Employers look for the best and brightest to intern with them, and with today’s diverse, capable pool of applicants, there is no shortage of options.

So, how do you find a college internship? Here are six tips on how to best go about scoring an internship near you:

1. Determine your interests.

Get a general idea of what career you plan on working toward, or how or where you think your time would be most well spent. Consider your goals, hobbies, and passions when seeking internships. Get an idea of what you want to be doing and how you can achieve it.

Some college students already know what they’d like to study, while others remain undecided for a time. If you have a career path chosen, an internship that will help you on that road would be the best fit. If you don’t know where you might end up, no worries! Find a subject that interests you and go from there. 

Recognize that some types of internships are more relevant to your goals than others. A music-focused job might be fun and cater to your love of the piano, but if you’re studying psychology, it isn’t likely to help you.

2. How to find an internship.

Think about your major’s requirements. Take into account the credits you may need, the experience you should gain, and the knowledge you’ll need to attain. Keep these in mind during your search.

Do your research. There are plenty of internships that aren’t widely advertised and some that are even based online. Researching open internships related to your area of interest can yield all sorts of results. Check out internships.com for an expansive list of internships in different industries. You can even seek out company-specific internships like Tesla & NBC, or explore industries like mechanical engineering or network engineering internships.

Make a list of potential employers and internships you find. You can also do simple Google searches that include your area of interest + internships + preferred location (ie: Tesla engineering internships in the Baby area, eBay internships in New York City, etc.). How about a Google internship? Prominent companies like Google provide dedicated pages to help guide your internship and career exploration. See Google’s internship page HERE. 

Joining a club or society dedicated to the area you’re interested in can open a world of possibilities, as they tend to post new opportunities and acquaint you with new people. Career fairs and info nights can provide information about different internships and employers. These are all good ways to sort through options and make connections.

3. Ace your internship applications.

Make yourself stand out. Clean up your resume, have references prepared, and find someone to write a letter of recommendation.

Have your application critiqued. You want your application to be as good as possible, so having it reviewed and critiqued by a professional can only improve it. A different perspective can help you find missing pieces and points to revise, which could be the key to your success.

Early application will likely produce better chances of getting an interview, given that most internships take applicants on a first-come, first-served basis. Applying early will also make you stand out as someone who takes their work seriously and is a go-getter when it comes to their future.

Submit applications to several potential employers. Don’t put all your eggs into one basket by applying for just one internship. You’ll find yourself disappointed and jobless if it doesn’t work out, and you’ll have a harder time finding new opportunities too late in the game. It’s also a good idea to be open to internships in different locations. Have you always dreamed of living in Chicago but reside in Houston? Search “Chicago Internships” and see what comes up! 

4. Prepare for interviews.

While every interview is different, the questions they ask are similar. Preparing answers to interview questions and mock interviews can give you an idea of what questions you’ll be asked and give you a better feel of an interview to ease your anxieties.

TIP: Wondering what kind of questions you’ll encounter in your interviews? Check out @thebalance’s careers blog post “Sample Internship Interview Questions.”

Research potential employers. The more you know about the company you’re interviewing for, the easier the interview becomes. Most company websites have an About Us page. Know it. Reference it. And be ready to talk about how you can support it. Research can reveal what interviewers are looking for in their candidates based on the company’s beliefs and practices.

Take your research a step further by connecting with employers on LinkedIn. A great networking tip is to seek out your internship hiring manager and introduce yourself through the professional social networking platform. Don’t have a profile? Create one today!

5. Follow up after the interview.

Send a thank-you note to your interviewer(s). You’ll want to do this within 24-hours of your interview. The letter should be short and straightforward, re-establishing your position and showing your gratitude for the opportunity. Invite requests for additional information and further communication in regards to the interview.

Send notes to those who aided you along the way (i.e., upperclassmen, recruiters, etc.). Thank them for their help and update them on how your interview went.

Emails are sufficient, but handwritten notes also work well. If you plan to write a handwritten note, be sure that it will arrive within two days of the interview.

TIP: Want to write a thank-you note but don’t know where to start? For examples and how-to’s on writing follow-up notes, check out:

6. Make a choice.

If you get accepted for an internship or multiple internships, really think about what this new job will entail. Decide which option best suits you, and whether or not you genuinely plan to pursue it.

It’s okay if you don’t get picked for your first choice. Any internship in the area of your choice is sure to give you experience. Remember that internships are about the skills you develop and the perspective you gain. Take the best chance given to you and do your best!

Internships are a significant part of the college experience. Landing an internship can put you ahead in your studies and provide real-world experience that you can’t get from a lecture. Follow these steps to improve your chances of getting that internship you wanted and move a step closer to reaching your goals.

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Works Cited