Gain Experience

As you begin to consider applying to graduate or professional school, it is important to consider academic and non-academic experiences that will prepare you for the rigors of graduate or professional school. You are encouraged to be intentional about the process. Remember that some experiences may be more important than others depending on what discipline you are going into or what school you may be applying too. What skills do you need to hone? What experiences do you need to gain? What lessons are you able to learn through the specific experiences in which you choose to engage?


Working helps you establish skills needed and shows you are able to balance life, school, and work. Check out Laker Jobs for on-campus jobs, internships, co-ops, part-time jobs, and full-time positions for students and alumni.


  • Whether a student is new to the profession, making a career change, or is looking for ways to network and get a "foot in the door," the importance of an internship cannot be overstated. Use these resources below to guide you on your search:

  • Internships and Co-Ops
  • Intern Match

Job Shadowing

Job shadowing is a great way to meet and talk to professionals who have the degree you may be interested in and getting a better idea of what a 'day in the life' is like for someone with that career path.  Check out why it's so important to job shadow before committing to a career:

Leadership Opportunities

Get involved in Laker Leadership Programs (LLP) early on to develop your CV and make your application to graduate or professional programs stand out. The LLP is located within the Office of Student Life and offers a variety of leadership development experiences for GVSU students & student organizations.

Research and Scholarship

Some graduate/professional programs require you to have research experience. Presenting and participating in research could also allow you to stand out from other graduate/professional school applicants. Begin by discussing your research interests with your faculty advisor or another professor who does research in your field. GVSU has programs that will allow you to become involved in the research community.

  • Office of Undergraduate Research and Scholarship (OURS) - Grand Valley's OURS provides comprehensive services and programs which support students in their pursuit of inquiry, creativity, scholarship, and research. The office is located on the second floor of the Mary Pew Library in Allendale in room 230.
  • Summer Scholars - Allows you and a faculty member to devote 12 weeks on a research or creative project. A scholar must meet specific admission criteria to be accepted into this program. Scholars also receive a stipend, a form of monetary support, as compensation for their work.
  • McNair Scholars Program - This program is designed to prepare highly talented undergraduates to pursue doctoral degrees and to increase the number of individuals (from target groups) on college and university faculties. McNair Scholars receive academic counseling, advising, and GRE preparation.

Study Abroad

The Padnos International Center (PIC) can help you select appropriate programs to enhance your graduate/professional application through Study Abroad experiences. Set up an appointment with a PIC advisor early on in your journey. Resources to help you decide:


Working as a volunteer can help you gain extra experience in your career field. It is also a good way to give back to the community.

  • Community Service Learning Center - Lists volunteer opportunities maintained by the GVSU Community Service Learning Center.
  • Volunteer Match - A database that allows volunteers to search all over the country for opportunities or organizations that fit their interest areas


Source: CLAS Advising Center, Graduate School Resources