A transfer student. This group of students is one of the most integral parts of colleges across the United States, yet, at the same time, they are often given little to no attention when it comes to being incorporated into their new college environment and culture.
From my experience, being a transfer student can often be one of the most challenging roads to navigate due to the lack of resources (or even just a lack in knowledge about the resources) and attention given to this student demographic. In addition to adjusting to the new college culture/environment, transfer students are also responsible for gaining experience within their respective fields, which can include holding an internship.
Each college has its own set of de-facto rules that students are recommended to follow to obtain an internship properly, often making it confusing and difficult to follow. However, in this blog, I aim to explain some essential steps and opportunities that you could take to find internships as a transfer student as simple and easy as possible.
Build Your Community On Campus
As a transfer student and from my own experiences, it is very common not to know any students or faculty attending the university you have transferred to. For this reason, it is vital to put yourself out there as much as possible.
This might be easier said than done, but I have learned over the past six months that this is highly beneficial when it comes to broadening your horizons and making the best out of the 2 or 3 years that you have at Chapman (or whichever new university you find yourself at).
Chapman does an excellent job when it comes to recruiting new and returning students to join clubs and various organizations. There are plenty of organizations around campus that range from first-generation students to Greek life; most students can find a home on campus pretty easily as there are options that meet anyone’s needs!
Remember: In addition to making new friendships, you can also build these connections to help you when it comes to finding jobs and internships!
In addition to making good connections with your peers, building connections with your professors and other staff and faculty on campus can also be very valuable for gaining more experience in your industry.
Many professors and other professionals around campus are very knowledgeable in their respective fields. They may be able to guide you toward an internship that could propel you into your future career.
In addition to internships, professors might be able to offer you a research assistant position that could equip you with in research that can impress prospective employers. There are a couple of ways to reach out to professors and staff around campus:
- Office hours: Professors’ office hours are a great way to learn about them more profoundly that would not happen in the classroom. Plus, your professor will learn more about you and your career aspirations, which could prove valuable when they find a possible job or internship opening.
- Email: A simple email to a professor and staff member (such as the career educators or advisors around campus) explaining what you are looking for and if they could direct you to any other resources that could open up opportunities you otherwise might not have known about is another great way in reaching out.
Being a transfer student can be difficult at times, but building a community around campus with your professors and fellow students can help Chapman feel like home and make connections that can help drive you into the professional world through internships.
Network and Connect
At the previous college that you transferred from, you most likely networked with teachers, students, and other staff members that you met through your classes, clubs, or possibly employment at the college. This was me at the previous college that I transferred from.
I was super involved and felt like I was ready to hit the ground running when I transferred to Chapman. This was not the case. I came to realize that going to the university where you are eventually going to graduate with your bachelor’s degree means that you need to put double the effort when it comes to networking with students and staff alike around campus.
In my case, this meant making an effort to communicate with my peers throughout my classes on a deeper level, whether it be simply asking them about their experiences/involvement at Chapman or going out on a lunch date. This helped me build my connections on campus, which will most likely help me out in the future when it comes to looking for internships and other future career opportunities around campus.
In addition to connecting with your peers, it is also even more critical to make an effort to communicate with your professors and other staff around campus!
When I first got to Chapman, I was shocked at how interconnected everyone was with each other, whether it was the team in the Admissions Office or those working in Residential Life. This realization only motivated and pushed me harder to build those connections with those who are not students.
While it may be at first to find out where to start, your best bet will be to start with the Office of Career and Professional Development staff or the Career Advisors at your respective college (linked to appointment scheduler). I may be a little biased, but this, in my opinion, is the best place to start.
Those working within the career sector at Chapman are trained and highly knowledgeable when it comes to helping you connect with those in your desired professional industry and, maybe sometimes, those who are Chapman Alumni.
Networking with Chapman alumni is awesome because those individuals are passionate about helping those who graduated from the same place they did get internships or help with job placement.
After being at Chapman for sometime after transferring, you will most likely gain a deeper understanding of how the Chapman campus operates. This was the same situation in my case.
During this past Interterm, I took a career fundamentals class with Erin Berthon, the Career Advisor for Wilkinson College. When I met with her one-on-one, I explained to her that I hoped to get research experience within the Political Science field (my major) and possibly work closely with professors. While she could not get me the research assistant position I was initially hoping for, I was fortunate enough that she could connect me with those in the Political Science department and ended up helping me get a Student Assistant position.
All of this would not have been possible if I had not originally put myself out there and asked if opportunities were available for me. While you might not be successful with every request you ask for, it is still great for you to put yourself out there. You never know what could end up happening in your favor.
Take Advantage of the Resources That Are Out There
Before I came to Chapman, I never knew that universities out there offered career help FOR LIFE. This could include assisting with resumes, cover letters, and helping with the job and internship search. These resources are rarely found around other universities in the Orange County area, which means that you should take advantage of these resources as much as possible.
In addition to the career services offered at the Office of Career and Professional Development, there are many other resources that Chapman has to offer. This includes networking events, special presentations, and other resources that could easily be found by looking through the various forms of social media that Chapman University has to offer. This includes Instagram, LinkedIn, and the Chapman University career website.
Some of these resources and events are sometimes difficult to find, but please do not make that a barrier to the endless possibilities that Chapman University has to offer for its students.
Being a transfer student can be a challenging experience, but with the right mix of support and assistance, you have the chance to make the most of your experience here at Chapman, especially when it comes to obtaining internships.
Always remember that if you are having any trouble with this pursuit of an internship or just need to update your resume, feel free to make an appointment with the Office of Career and Professional Development for any of your career necessities!