Students cannot overestimate the value of practical experience. In the eyes of most employers, practical, career-related experience is more important than a student's major or GPA.
During freshman year, begin by identifying 1-2 clubs related to possible career interests and join up. If you are interested in exploring research, spring semester of freshman year is not too early to contact faculty members in the Maryland Student Researchers Program.
Following sophomore year, begin gaining career-related experience -- perhaps a non-credit-bearing internship that you can work at part-time while keeping other employment.
- Students who are working substantial part-time jobs to earn money for school should be thinking about identifying a long-term, nearby volunteer activity. Volunteering once a month over several years while putting yourself through school is highly regarded by prospective employers.
No later than junior year, students need to begin gaining serious career-related experience - either by taking leadership roles in campus organizations, or a credit-bearing experience before senior year.
- Six (6) of the 11 areas of concentration require a credit-bearing internship (ENSP386 Internship); but all students should gain as much experience as possible.
Remember: Students all over the country are saving their money so they can move to DC after graduation. They are often willing to work for free, just to get their feet in the door. ENSP students should be doing their "work for free" as undergraduates -- so you can get paid for your efforts when you graduate!