For students deciding on potential careers or academic majors, involvement beyond the classroom may provide practical, “real world” experience that can shed light into the realities of certain careers. For students seeking to develop their professional profiles, becoming involved may provide opportunity to develop highly sought-after transferable skills, and to network with potential employers and community leaders. No matter your major or career path, getting involved on your campus and in your community can be a way to continue to develop as a student and professional.
In the sections below, we’ve outlined the most popular methods of finding involvement beyond the classroom at the Capstone.
Internships provide students with opportunities to enhance classroom learning through practical experience. Internships may be paid or unpaid, and may be full-time or part-time. Most positions are for one semester, though some are designed for longer periods. Internships can be found in most major areas of industry, including corporate and private business, government agencies, and nonprofit organizations. Internships provide students with opportunities to experience career interests as representatives of real-world businesses, gaining career clarity and developing important transferable skills relevant to the industry.
Planning for an internship is appropriate at any time in your academic career. Some employers specify junior and senior students as candidates for internship, while others hire freshmen and sophomores. These specifications vary by employer. Check with your academic department regarding internship requirements that may exist, and be sure to note deadlines and application requirements.
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:
Cooperative education is an academic program in which students alternate periods of full-time study with periods of full-time employment. This program offers work that is related to the academic major or career interests of each student, greatly enhancing the student’s prospects after graduation, and their confidence in career choice and transferable skills. 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 is also academic in nature, and provides students with opportunities to work with employers and organizations relevant to the program of study, setting goals and learning outcomes to fulfill throughout the experience. Check with your academic advisor to find out what independent study opportunities are available within your academic program.
Service learning opportunities are found in specific courses within various departments. Service learning is a method of teaching that focuses on social and community impact, which requires students to contribute to community needs in ways relevant to their academic area of study and individual interests. Service learning can be varied, from individual community service to the coordination of a large event for an organization in the community. Service learning experiences provide students with opportunities to put their academic majors to practical use by serving the surrounding community. This co-curricular method of instruction also allows students the opportunity to develop hands-on transferable skills and experiences to reflect on as they decide on an academic major. Check with your academic advisor and in your academic catalog to find opportunities for service learning courses on campus.
Student organizations are student-led groups that aim to facilitate programming and activities throughout campus, and to promote and advocate a specific interest. These organizations can be professional or social in nature, with organization officers that lead the operation and overall impact of the group.
With more than 400 student organizations currently registered, The Source serves as the student organization hub at the Capstone. 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 is a popular form of extracurricular involvement. In addition to the networking and development of transferable skills, volunteering offers a way to support the community. As you work with volunteers and take on assignments, you are networking and expanding your skills. The versatility and flexibility of volunteer opportunities allow students to become exposed to a variety of industries and activities at many times throughout their academic career.
The University of Alabama houses one of the most productive community service agencies in the state. The Center for Service and Leadership on campus works to identify meaningful service opportunities and place students in volunteer projects throughout the Tuscaloosa and West Alabama communities.