If you are a junior, it is not too late to strengthen your application profile with some real world experience. In fact, career development expert Donald Asher says that the summer between your junior and senior years in college is critical to your success in landing jobs after graduation. Whether you do experiential learning during the summer or during the semester, it is vitally important to have these experiences on your resume.
If your first two years at UMBC have not included an internship because you have been busy taking required courses, now could be the time to add an internship for the Winter Session or Spring 2013 semester or for next summer. Every year the Shriver Center sponsors 1,500 UMBC students with internships, co-ops, service learning and research experiences in more than 500 public and private organizations in the Baltimore/Washington area and across the globe. Internships can be paid or unpaid, full or part-time, and may actually earn you academic credit at UMBC.
In addition, many academic departments sponsor internships, such as the administrative and legal internships in the Political Science Department and the journalism internship in the English Department. Internships or field placements are built into some majors, such as Emergency Health Services and Media and Communications Studies. You may also be able to find internships on your own, through family, friends, or neighbors, or through your own internet research. Your professors may have suggestions.
These experiences will catch the eye of a potential future employer and a graduate school admissions committee. And an internship during the junior or senior years can sometimes lead to a job offer from the internship host firm or agency. Internships have other important benefits, including learning how to function in the workplace, trying out a career field for size, and learning more about the qualifications needed to succeed in various fields.
Faculty-sponsored research is often a distinguishing hallmark of top-tier UMBC graduates, and is available in almost every academic discipline (not just in the sciences and engineering). Indeed, research and creative project opportunities within your major may be more accessible than you think and could provide you with that “difference-making” element in your portfolio.
Not only do UMBC professors mentor undergraduates conducting independent research, but UMBC provides research grants (i.e. money up to $1500) to students to help meet project costs, including supplies, equipment, and travel costs. If you put together an Undergraduate Research Award proposal now and submit it by the March 4, 2013 deadline, you could have a project funded to take place during your senior year. This could be a capstone project for Departmental honors or a senior thesis, or just a project you want to pursue.
Semester or summer research opportunities in UMBC faculty labs or in university and government-sponsored programs are also available. National Science Foundation REUs (Research Experiences for Undergraduates) are fantastic opportunities. The website of the Office of Undergraduate Education has a great listing of such programs.
Study abroad not only builds global awareness and self-reliance, but for the student nearing graduation it offers a unique perspective from which to evaluate and assess career interests and future directions. Some students even decide to pursue careers in international business or to pursue graduate study in languages or area studies.
Juniors who have not already arranged a study abroad experience may yet be able to fit one in before graduation if you move quickly. Even a brief experience over Winter Session, spring break, or in the summer can be very meaningful. For example, the Ancient Studies department offers study/travel courses over the spring break, including a planned trip to France this March. Study abroad is even possible in the fall semester of your senior year, but it must be planned many months in advance.
All of these experiential learning opportunities are still available for you during your final semesters here at UMBC and could lead to a “capstone” event that genuinely solidifies your academic and career plans. Remember, time waits for no one.
Some Options for Experiential Learning Available NOW!
Undergraduate Research Award Workshop
Learn how to write a strong proposal!
Monday, December 3, 2012 12:00-12:50 pm
Room 207 Academic IV Bldg.
No pre-registration needed!
UMBC International Field Research Program
This is a 3-credit course (HAPP 403) in Spring 2013 that prepares students for a week of field research in Switzerland June 24-30.
Application deadline is December 3, 2012. Learn more here.
SEO Summer 2013 Internships
The SEO Career Program places students of color interested in finance, philanthropy, business and corporate law in internships with competitive pay, rigorous training, support through mentors, and broad access to industry professionals. Many interns are offered permanent jobs after graduation.
Click here for details.
U.S. Department of Energy Summer Internships
Paid internships introduce students to DOE’s mission and operations. Open to a variety of majors.
Application period for Summer 2013 is October 15, 2012 through January 4, 2013.
Learn more here.
A one hour overview of options, financing and how to apply
Held twice every week during the semester in Room 218 AD Bldg.Mondays - 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM
Thursdays - 3:00 PM to 4:00 PM
No pre-registration needed!
EXTRA CREDIT DISCUSSION QUESTION:
Have you had a research, internship, or study abroad experience that changed your thinking about what you would like to do after UMBC? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!