Gaining experience is an important way to explore and learn skills in your field, apply your classroom learning to real-world problems, develop skills that cross-disciplines (like communication, collaboration, and critical thinking), learn what “a day in the life” is like beyond the classroom, and build meaningful mentoring relationships. Graduate schools, professional schools, and employers also expect students to have had these hands-on experiences, so let’s dive in and find your fit!
"Ask what do you want now, to free yourself from thinking about the limitations of the technology and let your imagination take you to what things do you want to have done, what problems do you want to solve." - Andra Keay, managing director, Silicon Valley Robotics
- Reflect (on your values, interests, and skills)
- Explore (majors, careers, opportunities out there)
- Make connections (go beyond advertised opportunities by being proactive!)
You’ve probably been doing many of these things already if you’re on this tab! Here are some more suggestions:
Internships, co-ops, and research opportunities can have different “definitions” depending on the position – any experience that allows you to gain transferable skills, learn what professionals in your field do, and help you determine what’s next is what you should look for in an opportunity.
- Check out job boards or research databases for opportunities that are seeking applicants
- Talk to faculty about their research (many faculty will pull examples in class from their research or would be happy to chat in a meeting with you!)
- Attend events that will allow you to meet/network with faculty & employers
- Do your “research” on research/internships – look at departmental webpages or company pages and reach out to set up a meeting or informational interview
- Ask your peers about their experiences (how did they secure their experience?)
*Note: proactive strategies are often the best way to secure research opportunities on-campus as very few are posted and most are cultivated by building relationships. Internships and co-ops can also be secured in this way or by using databases and job boards.
Learn more through the Office of Undergraduate Research events. There are many ways to gain research experience on campus (remember most are found by being proactive)
Internships/co-ops (some may be research focused)
- Learn more through Center for Career Development events
- HuskyCareerLink - employers seeking to hire UConn students (internships, co-ops, and full-time jobs)
- On-campus internships
- Off-campus internship/co-op search engines
- Learn more through Office of Undergraduate Research events
- Many ways to gain research experience on campus (remember most are found by being proactive)