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What matters more than where you choose to go to college is what you do once you get there. This can mean anything from the extra-curricular activities you’re involved in to the jobs you have on campus. What’s even more crucial is to have experience working in the field you want a career in. This experience can be found through either internships or co-ops. An internship is a temporary job where a student is either paid or unpaid (and is typically receiving school credit) to work with a business that does the same work they are interested in doing as a career. These internships last anywhere from a semester to a year and can also be completed over a summer break or winter break. Internships are not difficult to find. Co-ops, or cooperative education programs, are different than internships. When a student does a co-op they are completely immersed and often times have larger roles overall than interns do. They are typically paid and receive academic credit at the same time.

Why are internships and co-ops important?

As previously stated, most employers look to see if prospective job candidates have done any work that relates to what they are hiring for. If one is interested in real estate then they should intern with or work for a real estate company, like the central Texas house buying company. In order to get a job, one must have experience. The easiest way to get experience is to obtain an internship or co-op.

How does one go about getting an internship or a co-op?

The Internet is your best friend when it comes to this. So is your school’s Career Services department. Career Services is not just there to aid you when it’s time to graduate; it’s there to help you navigate the world of internships and co-ops during your time at college as well. This department typically offers services such as resume and cover letter workshops, interview preparation, and job search help. Attending a school that has a good job search program will prove very beneficial in the end. Be sure to check out a school’s job portal and job search engine before paying your deposit. The larger the database of companies that want to have the students as interns and future employees, the easier it will be to find a job after graduation.

The easiest way to go about looking for these services is by looking through the website of the college or university you’re interesting in attending. If you are able to visit your prospective colleges, ask the students about their experiences with finding internships or even on campus jobs relating to the field they are interested in. Many universities boast about their co-op programs, so don’t be shy to ask them about the process of obtaining a co-op. Some schools like Northeastern University encourage students to take five years to complete their degrees in order to gain as much work experience as possible before going out into the “real world.” Some majors require students to have internships. Many schools also have direct connections to various businesses or departments that can aid you in obtaining a job after graduation. These details are typically mixed in with content on the websites of each department, so it requires a bit of searching.

College is all about networking. The people you meet will be running the world in a couple decades–and so will you. If you have the opportunity to make connections with peers doing amazing things, do so. Oftentimes, schools have career fairs pertaining to certain majors and certain schools or colleges within the university (if the university is extremely large). Some schools offer panels of past alumni that come and talk about what they’re currently doing now. Regardless of whether you know what you are interested in doing with your life or not, it is extremely important to know if your school offers services that will aid you in developing your resume since it is the only way you will be able to get a job after graduation.



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the author

Sarah Wiszniak is a student at the University of Connecticut. She is a college writer and video blogger for The Prospect, a national video blogger for HerCampus.com, and has her own college admissions blog. In her spare time, Sarah enjoys pondering political theory, crafting, and taking meaningless Buzzfeed quizzes. Her favorite flowers are daisies and she plans on ruling Washington, D.C. one day.

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