The foundation for a successful career starts at university – and especially when you prepare early. From day one on campus, you can find professional development activities that build skills and pathways that serve your unique ambitions. Whether it’s attending a career fair, going on a career trek, enrolling in experiential learning courses, or pursuing an internship, there are so many ways to become career-ready while still in school. With Shorelight Career Services, our expert counselors give you the tools and know-how to set yourself up for professional success after graduation, with employers both abroad and back home.
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With our co-ops and senior projects, [students] are prepared for corporate culture.
My advisor has been my go-to resource at UIC. He always shared valuable insights and helped me along the way.
On the Fairfield StartUp visit to Silicon Valley, students asked thoughtful questions of ... company founders, startup coaches, professional investors, and even C-level executives.
Career Preparation FAQs
What Is OPT and CPT?
Optional Practical Training (OPT) and Curricular Practical Training (CPT) are programs that enable international students to gain hands-on work experience while studying in the US. OPT relates to one’s program of study and can take place during enrollment (pre-completion) or after graduation (post-completion). CPT is an alternative to internships, work-study, or similar programs, offered by a sponsoring employer that has a partnership with one’s university. Each has specific visa criteria and predetermined time duration, among other requirements. Get all the details on the Shorelight guide to OPT and CPT.
What Is STEM OPT Extension?
If you are an international student in the US who has earned a DHS-approved degree in a Science, Engineering, Technology, or Math (STEM) field, you can request an extension of 24 months for your Optional Practical Training (OPT). Get more details on the Shorelight guide to OPT.
What Is Experiential Learning?
Experiential learning, also known as hands-on learning or learning by doing, is a common practice in university curricula, especially in the US. Experiential learning activities can include workshops, community service, internships, real-life simulations, group projects, and more. Get more details on the Shorelight guide to experiential learning.
How Can I Get an Internship During My Studies?
There are many ways to obtain an internship while you’re enrolled at university. You may find internships through Shorelight Career Services, your school’s career center, online job boards, alumni network, or even your professors and peers. Before investigating internship opportunities, speak with your Designated School Official (DSO) and/or your Shorelight counselor to be aware of and comply with all visa requirements. For more information, read the Shorelight guide to internships for international students.
What Other Work Experience Can I Gain During My Studies?
Beyond internships, international students may be able to pursue campus jobs, research opportunities, volunteer activities, student club participation and/or leadership, and more. Shorelight Career Services is a good place to start for inspiration and brainstorming, with dedicated counseling to determine what’s possible. You can also speak with your campus teams for specific opportunities available, as well as your Designated School Official (DSO) for visa eligibility requirements.