Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Internships Offer Introductions to the Post-Graduate World

       In an already competitive workforce, what will make your student stand out among the competition? Internship experience!  Internships allow students to gain practical experience in the field(s) they would like to pursue and determine if the interest is still there.  

       Now is the time for students to step up their search for internships as deadlines vary, even as a freshman in college.  The Gateway Student Success Center just sponsored a career fair on campus a few weeks ago and their staff is always available to assist with writing resumes and cover letters, as well as provide other information about career services.  As a parent, you might have some questions about how internships can truly benefit your student and we hope to address them here.

Are internships paid or unpaid?
It depends.  There is much debate about the legality of unpaid internships, but whether or not your student gets paid is dependent on the organization. Information regarding pay should be made clear up front.  Students may also college credit for internship experiences and should consult their academic adviser for particular details on how to do so.

Where should my student search for internships?
First, he/she should start with Gateway Connects, then talk with the internship contact in their respective academic department.  They can also directly search for opportunities with the company or organization they are interested in working for. 

What should my student expect from an internship experience?
Practical experience! You’ve heard the stories about the intern being responsible for getting coffee for the boss and that should not define their experience.  The assignments might start off small, but interns have been known to contribute to projects in a major way!  Overall, your student should be able to apply what they have learned in the classroom and walk away from the experience with the ability o articulate exactly what they learned.

How will my student benefit from being an intern?
They will gain more practice in learning workplace etiquette and how to properly interact with people from diverse backgrounds.  Additionally, it is the opportunity to meet people within their desired career field that may later serve as a reference for future employment or provide connections for other opportunities. 

We wish your student all the best in their quest for an internship!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Before You Drop a Course, Consider This!

We are in the midst of midterms and Spring Break is a few days away.  Your student may be feeling the pressure of coursework, extracurricular activities, work duties, along with general life obligations.  Friday, March 23 is the deadline for students to drop individual courses.  If they begin to think about dropping courses for the semester, keep reading for a few things to consider before they make the final decision.

How do you feel about your academic progress up to this point?
Encourage your student to be open, honest and realistic about this.  If they require additional assistance through tutoring or Supplemental Instruction, encourage them to seek help now.

Have you met with your professor/instructor about your progress?
This is a key factor in the discussion.  Students should consult with their professors to determine if a withdrawal is the best decision.  They will be able to have discussions with your student about their progress in a particular course.

Have you talked with your academic adviser about how dropping a course will affect your degree progress?
Your student’s academic adviser will be able to discuss options with your son/daughter and be able to show them how dropping a course could potentially play a role in their progression toward graduation.

If you drop this course, will you be able to take the course over the winter or summer school term?
Your student should be aware of course offerings for each term as every course is not offered during each term.  Summer course offerings are available online.

How will dropping this course affect your financial aid package?
Some scholarships and tuition waivers require students to achieve a certain number of credit hours within an academic year for renewal.  Students might have to take additional credits in the summer term to make up for dropped courses.  Additionally, students need to be enrolled in 12 credit hours to be considered full-time.  Consult the Office of Financial Aid to inquire.

The best thing you can do as a parent, coach and mentor to your student is to have and express faith in your student.  Remind them of past success and encourage them to buckle down, get motivated and get to work!  There are resources in place to assist, but they must take advantage of them as well.