It is extremely important these days to have experience prior to graduating college. There are a number of ways to gain experience during college; studying abroad, interning, volunteering, participating in organizations, working with a mentor, and participating in career networking events, are all ways in which students can gain valuable experience.
Many students study abroad to see how their future professions operate in other countries. This is good, because it gives the student a well-rounded feel for their profession and industry while getting an inside look at other cultures. However, where is the professional experience? Site seeing and living in another country does not necessarily give you experience within your future profession and industry. A successful trip abroad will enable you to work among side professionals from your industry. Internships abroad will give you an international perspective on your career goal, professional relationships that can turn into references, the ability to network with students and industry professionals, bring you that step closer to your desired career path.
For those who cannot study abroad, experience must be gained right where you are! Your school is filled with experience-gaining opportunities. Select your classes wisely, it is always smart to choose classes that may not be required, but will give you an edge after school. A public relations major is required to take an array of PR and communications classes. However, it is important to stretch and take classes that are still relevant but not required, in order to give you that competitive edge come job seeking time. Graphic design is a valuable commodity in the job market because it is almost always needed. Taking a graphic design class will not only provide you with extra experience, but it will be a substantial resume booster for potential employers.
When in a classroom, treat all group assignments and collaboration efforts like you are getting paid to do them. If you treat assignments in a professional manner, it may be possible to use the finished product as a part of your portfolio. Group projects can give you a chance to know your classmates not only on a social level, but also on a professional level. Students in your classes have something in common with you, their strengths may balance your weaknesses and vice versa.