When you think about your prospective college years, more often than not, you imagine it as some dream-like time. You make the first steps in your adult life. And you plan to study hard and find some odd job so that you can pay your tuition or rent. It’s going to be challenging but exciting, right?
Well, your plan is great, and most college students have the same experience. However, there are certain risks. It’s difficult to keep the perfect study/work balance without one interfering with another. Sooner or later, you may start skipping your classes to get your work done or cutting work time to prepare properly for the exam or complete some writing assignments.
Yes, there’s always an option to order your paper from some essay writing services, so you have extra time for work. But where are you going with that? You risk failing your education and being involved with odd jobs for the rest of your life. There are certain things that you can do career-wise while at college. After all, that’s one of the reasons why you are entering it. Here are the five core aspects of your future career:
- Figure out your career aspirations
- Get professional skills
- Gain exposure for your future career
- Acquire potential post-graduation employment
The best news is that you can gain all that while studying at college. Cooperative education, internships, job shadowing, informational interviews, and career services are the main college opportunities you shouldn’t pass on. Let’s have a more detailed look at each without further ado.
1. Cooperative Education
Cooperative education, also known as “co-op,” is an education method that combines traditional classroom education with practical work experience. Thanks to those aspects, cooperative education provides students academic credit for a particular job experience. As a result, students have an easier transition from college to work.
Cooperative education alternates two semesters. Students have one traditional academic semester; then, they have a semester of full-time employment. And full-time work doesn’t count as cutting classes. Co-op students are classified as full-time students each term, despite one semester of full-time employment.
There are certain financial benefits of cooperative education. Co-op students generally earn between $8,000 and $10,000 per semester. Another great thing is that they don’t have to pay the tuition during the course. Thus, not all you get a deeper knowledge of your future career, but an actual work-related experience as a part of your academic program.
Another great way to explore your potential career is an internship. Here you’re going to be supervised on your way to gaining work experience in a professional setting of your chosen field. It’s the outside-of-the-classroom learning course that allows understanding the work-based situation of your prospective occupation.
Unlike cooperative education, internships are limited in time. Generally, internships consist of 120 hours minimum. Students can work ten hours weekly during their academic program. Alternatively, they can get the required hours by working part- or full-time during spring or summer break. Unlike cooperative education, internships can be both paid and unpaid.
Thanks to internships, students get a working experience with feedback from their mentors. Internships allow gaining skills and professional contacts that can help them get hired after graduation. They can also get exposure to the management of the company they are practicing. All in all, interns have better chances of getting a job immediately after graduation.
3. Job Shadowing
You have a particular job that you want to get, but you have doubts about it. You wonder whether this job will fulfill your career goals. Do you have the necessary personality traits to work in this field? Is the day-to-day job won’t leave you stressed out and dissatisfied? Colleges offer job shadowing, which will help you find answers to those questions.
Job shadowing is on-the-job learning that allows college students to have a glimpse at their prospective work. It generally lasts from several days to one week. During this time, students have a chance to watch and learn how a particular department or company involved in their field of interest works.
Job shadowing allows students to follow the employees’ work and ask questions about their activities. It’s an effective way of understanding your prospective career choices. However, there’s one drawback of job shadowing education-wise, as it doesn’t always generate academic credit.
4. Informational Interviews
Another opportunity to get a deeper understanding of your prospective career is visiting informational interviews. An informational interview allows you to learn more about your future job by asking people who work in your field of interest daily. You can learn everything about the occupation that you want to acquire or about the company you want to work at.
You can learn about the soft and hard skills that a job may require. Such interviews help students to realize whether they have the right personality for the career of their choice. However, there are several drawbacks of informational interviews, both career and education-wise.
Firstly, informational interviews don’t generate academic credit. Secondly, you must mind that the person you’re interviewing gives you the information from their personal perspective. You should meet with several people that have the same profession to have a clear picture of what your desired job is about.
5. Career Services
When you are preparing to make your first professional steps, you may need help. Colleges can help you with that. Most colleges have career services departments. The main purpose of the career services department is to help students prepare for their prospective careers.
Such departments offer various services. You can get your resume reviewed and get career advice. You can participate in workshops or develop career plans and job searching skills via individual counseling. Moreover, career services often organize informational interviews, as they act as a link between the students and prospective employers.
Here, you have five college opportunities that can help you figure out everything about your future career. It’s beneficial to participate in some or all of them. Getting pre-working experience is crucial, as it increases your chances of getting employed.
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