If you didn’t know, RIT is infamous for its cooperative education (aka co-op) program that allows students to gain work experience while still enrolled in their undergraduate career.
Fun fact: 80% of majors require a co-op/internship opportunity.
What about the other 20%?
Just because your program doesn’t require an internship or co-op doesn’t mean you shouldn’t pursue one. Internships/co-ops are invaluable! Not just because you gain experience but you also figure out if you’re on the right career path, but that’s another story.
Anyway, how does one gain these experience opportunities? First off, you can start looking at the two major career fairs RIT hosts. Making connections with professors is also really IMPORTANT.
One reason RIT is such an amazing university is because we have amazing faculty who have amounted a lot of experience while working in their field. Josh Owens, industrial design professor, not only has his own studio but has experience working on projects for Umbra and IBM. Barry Strauber, advertising lecturer, has worked for all the big name agencies and now runs his own. Bob Ward, business professor, was working at the executive level for an international company. Ted Kinsman, phototech professor, has worked on movies like Avatar.
Connections with professors have gone beyond classroom walls and last after you graduate. So when you attend orientation and you’re Orientation Leader offers the advice of “go to office hours”, take it. Visit your professors. Talk with them. Ask them about their experience. Even if they’ve been out of their field for a few years, they still have friends who might take interns/co-ops. It’s up to you if you are going to pursue those leads but you might find your first opportunity that way. I was lucky enough to connect with one of my professors and start out on my first internship that opened the door to so many more. As a result, I’m now on my second internship while still taking classes. Talk with professors, you never know what information the can provide!