Experiential opportunities involve hands-on learning with a concrete experience. For any career goal, getting experience is important to learn how your skills and knowledge work in action. Sharing how you have skills from examples of experiences you have is an effective way to share your story as a candidate for internships, jobs, graduate school, professional school, or other goals. Use the links below for more details on various types of experiential opportunities.
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● An internship is a form of experiential education that integrates knowledge and theory learned in the classroom with practical application and skills development in a professional setting. (Definition from the National Association of Colleges and Employers-NACE)
● This is probably the most popular form of experiential education opportunity. Internships can be part-time (typically during the fall and spring semester) or full-time (usually during the summer), depending upon the employer. NACE has established a 7 point criteria for employers to determine if an opportunity qualifies as an internship. All of the following criteria must be met to be considered a legitimate internship:
1. The experience must be an extension of the classroom: a learning experience that provides for applying the knowledge gained in the classroom. It must not be simply to advance the operations of the employer or be the work that a regular employee would routinely perform.
2. The skills or knowledge learned must be transferable to other employment settings.
3. The experience has a defined beginning and end, and a job description with desired qualifications.
4. There are clearly defined learning objectives/goals related to the professional goals of the student’s academic coursework.
5. There is supervision by a professional with expertise and educational and/or professional background in the field of the experience
6. There is routine feedback by the experienced supervisor.
7. There are resources, equipment, and facilities provided by the host employer that support learning objectives/goals.In regards to compensation, internships may be paid or unpaid. However, employers must adhere to the Department of Labor’s Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
Cooperative Education (Co-Op)
Cooperative Education (more commonly called a “Co-op”) is a structured method of combining classroom-based education with practical work experience.It is very similar to an internship in that it integrates classroom education to a hands-on work environment, however the differences are:
► Co-ops are full-time (40 hours per week) while enrolled in school
► Typically lasts anywhere between 3 months –1 year
► Always paid
FieldworkFieldwork is work performed in the field to gain practical experience and knowledge through firsthand observation. The majority of opportunities are unpaid and the fieldwork opportunities are typically associated with a class (examples of fieldwork courses at Rutgers-Newark includes Psychology and Social Work).
Part-Time/Full-Time JobsA part-time job is on-going work that is a paid opportunity and occurs less than 35 hours per week. A full time job is a paid opportunity that exceeds 35 hours per week. Part-time jobs are offered on-campus and off-campus, among all fields and industries and may be flexible around class schedules (dependent upon the employer). Most full time jobs will take place off campus and the hours worked vary based on each organization and the duties required.
ProjectsA project is a task or problem engaged in usually by a group of students to supplement and apply classroom studies (I.e. Capstone or Case Competition). Projects usually take place in a classroom setting and are designed to analyze problems and create solutions, either individually or a group, sometimes for an actual company. These opportunities are unpaid.
Micro-internshipsA micro-internship offers assignments similar to a traditional internship except the projects are short-term and can be done virtually. Since the majority of the work is done remotely, micro-internships are accommodating for schedules. The hours and project length vary by project and employer and can be paid or unpaid. Examples of organizations that offer micro-internships are Parker Dewey and Virtual Student Federal Service.
Civic Engagement / Community ServiceCivic engagement / community service allows individuals to participate in community involvement and awareness to make a difference in the community. These opportunities can be paid or unpaid and help develop community based knowledge, values, and skills.
Shadowing/ExternshipsShadowing provides exposure to a career field by observing a professional (as a “shadow”). These are short-term, unpaid opportunities that can take place either for one day or a few hours per week. Shadowing is a great way to learn about the “day in the life” of career or organization. These opportunities are required and / or highly recommended for some healthcare careers (Physician, Dentist, Physical Therapist).
Leadership ProgramsA leadership program is a short-term program designed to provide skill building activities which promotes teamwork and networking opportunities. The length of the program varies from one day to one week and can provide a “sneak peek” into the organization by learning more about firm and field / industry, while also enhancing skills and providing an opportunity to network. Leadership programs are unpaid and can take place any class year, but employers typically seek First Year or Sophomore students.
ResearchResearch is the study or examination of a particular subject. Research may provide the opportunity to possibly conduct experiments and analyze data and it may be conducted through an academic department. Research can be paid or unpaid as the length of each research opportunity varies dependent upon research, supervisor, and you.
Study AbroadStudy abroad is an immersion opportunity to live and attend courses in a foreign country, immerse oneself in the culture, learn a language, and provide a global perspective. The study abroad program is paid for by the student.
CoursesCourses may count as experiential IF they do provide you with some hands-on learning, so that you can describe how you have developed skills with a detailed example. Courses that allow for experience are often some of the categories described above, including internships, co-ops, fieldwork, research, and study abroad. Check with your academic advisor to see what options are available within your major. A few additional opportunities that are available to students include:First Year students: The Rutgers Road to Wall Street Program is designed to boost the industry knowledge and interview skills of a select group of approximately 55 sophomores who demonstrate a strong interest in and knowledge of the financial markets. First-year students considering applying to the program are strongly encouraged to learn about the finance industry and careers in finance. Applications will be available for submission mid-March.
Sophomores and Juniors: The Braven Accelerator is a 3-credit elective course, offered as a partnership between Rutgers-Newark and Braven, a nonprofit. This course helps you develop the skills, confidence, networks and experiences needed to land a strong first job after college graduation.By enrolling in this 3-credit class, you’ll:
● Meet 1x/week in a small cohort of 5-8 RU-N students
● Receive job coaching and mentoring from local professionals
● Develop the confidence and skills (problem solving, working in teams, and so much more!) to land a strong job
● Grow your network of professionals and peers
Register on WebReg by looking for “HLLC Special Topics II Braven Accelerator.”
If you want to learn more about the course before enrolling, please go here: Braven Accelerator