Thinking about where to go to college is extremely stressful. Factors like tuition costs, location, and degree difficulty all play a factor in making that life-changing decision. A question that is not as often thought about, though, is: How will this college/university help me after I graduate? Coming to the University of Illinois has that answer covered.
The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is known for its ground-breaking research discoveries. From the National Center for Supercomputing Applications to developing its own COVID-19 saliva-based test, innovation happens all of the time on our campus.
There are research opportunities in just about every major. Joining a research team as a research assistant can be as simple as sending an email to a professor or going up to them after class to discuss their work. Asking them if there are any ways you can get involved with their work will almost certainly get you a spot in their lab, or they’ll point you toward another professor who has a spot for you.
Maddie Yoo, a senior in Human Development & Family Studies, found her research team by taking a class from Dr. Brain Ogolsky:
I have had the honor of being an undergraduate research assistant in Dr. Ogolsky’s Healthy Experiences Across Relationship Transitions Lab. There, I’ve learned even more about the process of research on relationship science than I have been able to learn in the classroom setting. This experience in Dr. Ogolsky’s lab has shown me my passion for relationship science. Upon graduating, I will be attending graduate school to dive deeper into this academic field. If it had not been for Dr. Ogolsky and his research lab, I would not be pursuing the master’s degree that I intend to today.
Another great way to propel your career forward is to get an internship. An internship is short-term employment, usually off campus, that provides opportunities such as gaining experience in and networking with professionals in your chosen field.
Throughout the school year, there are several career fairs on campus. These career fairs bring hundreds of employers right to Urbana-Champaign and give students the chance to acquire an internship.
Blayke Hranicka, a graduate from the Gies College of Business had an internship during her time as an undergraduate:
Through networking with one of the professors in the Gies College of Business, I was fortunate enough to acquire a summer internship working in Fashion Merchandising in Denver, Colorado. Working with the amazing faculty in Gies led me to meet high-up executives in my desired industry, which led to my full-time job after I graduated! Knowing the right people is so important, and the Gies faculty really helped with that.
Studying abroad can be one of the most formative experiences of a college student’s life. Experiencing a new culture and living outside of your home country is exhilarating.
Luckily, UIUC has hundreds of study abroad programs available to students. Run not only by colleges but also by individual majors, our options allow for a diverse array of opportunities to travel the world.
Studying abroad also provides a huge network of contacts in your desired industry that can lead to employment after graduation. The study abroad experience of Rachel Mullen’s, a recent graduate from Crop Sciences, did just that:
I was fortunate enough to be able to study abroad in Ireland. I absolutely loved everything about the country and its culture. While there, I met a faculty member at my school who knew of an upcoming employment opportunity working for a chemical and biology company, Teagasc, in Dublin. Thanks to my study abroad program, I got the job and now live in Dublin!
These diverse experiences by UIUC students are just as diverse as the opportunities that are offered to Illini every day. Whether it’s becoming a research assistant, getting an internship, or studying abroad, coming to the University of Illinois will without a doubt lead to future success.