There are many opportunities for undergraduate students to boost their career. Within their university, undergraduates can participate in research activities. They can work with faculty mentors and engage in learning in the library, laboratory, field and studio. Through such experiences undergraduate students develop important skills and explore career choices. Through research work, students get the opportunity to connect with a disciplinary community. Many students also get to publish, exhibit, perform or present their work, sharing it with audiences beyond their university which helps them excel in their career.
Most students tend to delay career planning until they have finished their degree. It’s common for students to think “I still have a few years left, there is still time. I don’t need to worry about my career.” However, students can greatly enhance the prospects of their graduate employment through a range of undergraduate work experience options.
A number of organizations have informal or formal programs for final year undergraduate students to help them with their career. The work experience can be unpaid or paid. Volunteer-based positions are also available for undergraduate students; these can include vacation work placements, scholarships or longer-term cadetships. Off-the-job or on-the-job instruction, training and mentoring are sometimes included. Through these programs you can test an organization and increase your chances of getting a graduate position which is ultimately good for your career.
Depending on your discipline, opportunities for work related experience for undergraduates vary. Some areas such as nursing or education have work placements as part of the curriculum; in areas like law, accounting and business, faculties often have connections with employers offering formal programs. It is important to make the right career choice.
Cadetship is a paid position offered to students. The position is designed to give specific mentoring or training. It can be a part-time or full-time position with either a formal and structured scheme or informal arrangements between an organization and an individual.
A cooperative program is a work-integrated learning (WIL) or an industry-based learning (IBL) program which consists of full-time, hands-on experience in a relevant industry. The participant is usually a third or fourth year student, and getting experience also gets you academic credit.
An internship is similar to cadetship. It is a work placement that is supervised and is arranged between the university, student and employer. It could be a few weeks part-time position to multiple semesters of full-time employment. The field of employment is relevant to the student’s qualification. The internship could also get the student academic credit.
Vacation work is usually paid degree-related work that is mostly undertaken by students nearing the end of their second-last year of study. It may result in the student getting a graduate position, therefore there is a lot of competition. Programs could also be available for the winter vacations.
There are many opportunities available for undergraduate students. It is a matter of the mindset. Students need to be active enough to make the most of their time so that they are more competent for graduate positions.