If you’re deciding on potential careers or academic majors, involvement beyond the classroom may provide practical experience that can shed light into the realities of occupations. If you want to develop skills and build your network, becoming involved provides opportunities to accomplish both. Below are popular methods of finding involvement beyond the classroom at the Capstone.

Internships

Internships are paid or unpaid positions that allow you to gain career clarity and develop skills relevant to the industry. If after an internship, you decide against that particular career, you’ve still gained experience for your resume and have taken a valuable step toward defining what you want.
Some internships are open only to juniors and seniors while others are open to freshmen and sophomores. In some academic programs, an internship or similar field experience is required. You can check those details as you research different majors.

Finding an Internship

The Career Center maintains a working relationship with many employers throughout the country in an effort provide students with a broad range of internship opportunities. You can access these opportunities through your Handshake account.

Strategies for finding opportunities outside of Handshake include:

  • Checking internship postings on individual employer websites.
  • Networking and learning about openings by attending career fairs.
  • Meeting with a member of our career consulting team to discuss possibilities, including creating an internship.
  • Talking with your departmental internship coordinator or academic advisor.

Cooperative Education (CO-OP)

Cooperative education is an academic program in which students alternate periods of full-time study with periods of full-time employment. Cooperative education opportunities are often found in engineering fields, but other industries may offer them as well. Visit The University of Alabama Cooperative Education and Professional Practice Program to learn more.

Independent Study and Undergraduate Research

Independent study often involves working directly with a faculty member on a project. Contact your academic advisor and check courses listed in myBama to find independent study options or courses that may be available in your academic program. You can also explore research opportunities by visiting the Office for Undergraduate Research.

Service Learning

Service learning experiences provide opportunities to put knowledge to practical use by serving the surrounding community. This method of instruction also allows students to develop transferable skills and to reflect on the experience of serving their community. Check with your academic advisor and in your academic catalog to find opportunities for service learning courses.

Campus Involvement

With more than 400 student organizations currently registered, The Source serves as the student organization hub at the Capstone. Organizations can be professional or social, and they offer opportunities for you to build leadership skills even if you don’t hold an official title.

Visit mySource online to find the right student organization for you. If you need help deciding, The Source offers an interest survey that will pair you with a corresponding student organization.

Volunteering

In addition to providing avenues for serving others, volunteering is a great way to network professionally and socially and develop skills. The versatility and flexibility of volunteer opportunities allow students to become exposed to a variety of industries and activities.
The Center for Service and Leadership at UA works to identify meaningful service opportunities and place students in volunteer projects throughout the Tuscaloosa and West Alabama communities.

What You Learn Beyond the Classroom

It’s important to reflect on what you learn and what you contribute in roles outside of class. This reflection can help you identify some of your strengths and values. It will also help you organize thoughts for highlighting the experience on your resume or in interviews.

Answer the following questions about your involvement as an employee, volunteer, or member of an organization. Save your responses to have when writing your resume and preparing for interviews.

  • My initial contributions were:
  • My contributions grew to include:
  • The activity I enjoyed most was:
  • My biggest challenge was:
  • The skills I applied were:
  • I learned that I can:
  • Through the experience, I became more aware of:
  • The experience influenced my thinking on:
  • The people with whom I interacted most were:
  • As a result of this experience, I would like to: