How to Get Real-World Experience in Your College Major

While pursuing your college degree, you will take many classes that will help you explore your intended field. The knowledge gained from these major-focused courses can be very beneficial; however, gaining real-world experience in your college major can be the extra boost you need when entering the job search.

Unfortunately, many students neglect to get real-world experience during their schooling, only to realize its importance once it’s too late. You can get real-world experience in your college major by taking on internships, career-related jobs, and relevant extracurriculars while in school. Having examples from classes can be helpful, but showing potential employers you have more direct experience can increase your chances of standing out.

But what steps can you take to get this real-world experience? Read on:

Gain real-world experience from internships

There are many reasons you could choose to pursue an internship in college. Some colleges or majors require that you complete a minimum number of hours in an internship role before graduation, while others leave it up to the student to decide. Regardless, holding an intern position at some point throughout your college career is a great way to apply what you’ve learned about your major in the real-world.

[RELATED: 4 Career Skills for Students to Develop]

Internships in your field give you the opportunity to have multiple professional experiences throughout your education. Typically, internships range from three to five months and may occur during one of the semesters of school. For example, a potential employer may have an opening for a fall or summer internship, which would typically last the duration of that session. Depending on the internship and company, these can sometimes be paid positions and potentially turn into a real job opportunity! Neither is guaranteed, but regardless, gaining the experience and networking opportunities may come in handy down the road.

Utilize your college major in a campus job or organization

Another great way to gain experience in your major is to take on a part-time job in your field (or in a related field). This could be the university newspaper if you are interested in graphic design, advertising, or journalism, for instance. Or, you could consider the admissions department if you are interested in hospitality, public speaking, or anything else that involves heavily interacting with people.

Often, there are many roles right on campus for students to take on as well, including:

  • Writing, math, or science center tutor

  • Teaching assistant

  • Lab assistant/technician

  • Assistant in the IT department

You can also join various college extracurriculars that may support your intended field. Holding leadership positions (and even simply being involved) in campus groups and organizations can broaden your knowledge of your area of study. Jobs or volunteer opportunities off campus in your community are another great way to showcase your major-related skills. Consult with your academic advisor who may be able to help you locate these opportunities.

Gain real-world experience through networking

Both internships and jobs in your intended field give you the opportunity to begin networking with individuals in the career you hope to go into. Oftentimes underrated, taking advantage of any networking opportunities available to you can be a great way to get your name out there. Many universities host job fairs and other networking events that allow students to meet professionals in their desired field. This is where everything ties together: by having gained real-world experience in your major, you will have something to showcase when talking to these individuals that will give you the confidence to network.

At the end of the day, gaining real-world experience in your college major can do nothing but benefit you. It doesn’t hurt to help yourself feel as confident and prepared as possible for what the real world will bring!

Any topics you want to know more about? Let us know! The Varsity Tutors Blog editors love hearing your feedback and opinions. Feel free to email us at