University of Minnesota

Second Year Experience

Office of Undergraduate Education


General Roadmap

‘tis the season of internship fairs!

It’s that time of year again seconds! Many of the colleges are going to be hosting job and internship fairs this month, in addition to the UMN Job Fair, which showcases hundreds of employers from around the Minneapolis area. Are you ready?

It’s important not to write off these events just because you are a second year. Employers are looking for college students, and are aware that you may have a low level of experience. They want to teach you and give you opportunities to learn that you don’t get in the classroom – so take advantage of it! This is an easy way to get an opportunity lined up for the summer and build connections with potential employers.

  • Check out these job fair tips to make sure you're prepared for the event!
  • Do you know what professional clothing entails? Make sure you have some of these items!
  • Check out these resources to help you talk about yourself using strengths! (We recommend Creating Your Personal Brand and the Strengths Based Resume.)

How well do you know your faculty members?

Many students don’t realize how valuable of a resource their professors are. Many professors teach after having years of experience in their field. Then they come to the university to share that knowledge with their students. Professors also make great references in the future, but don’t plan on asking for that recommendation unless you’ve really spent time getting to know them! So how exactly do you do that?

Take advantage of your professor’s office hours. These hours are mandatory for professors, and very few students utilize this one on one time. Ask questions, show you’re curious and show you’re willing to learn. Professors are here because of their love for teaching and passion for their subject matter, so they will welcome and appreciate your questions.

It’s all about the money

As a second year, you’ve come to know the harsh reality that is bills, budgets and taxes. College is the time to start being smart about your spending. Think about the difference between what items you actually need versus items you just want. For example, you need groceries, but want to go out to eat. While either option will feed you, you will spend five times as much on a delivery pizza rather than a frozen pizza. Ordering pizza twice a week costs nearly $500 a semester!

Although, that doesn’t mean you can’t spend money on anything fun. It’s okay to eat out occasionally, but the more you save on things like eating out, the higher the chance you will be able to afford something you really want – like a trip for spring break!

  • Check out the VTAP tax program by MSA to get your taxes done for free!
  • Utilize free entertainment options, like Gophers After Dark!
  • Learn the true cost of loans, and what that means for your finances!

An Alternative Spring Break Experience

If you looking for something different to do over spring break, why not consider an extended volunteer experience? Commonly known as an “alternative spring break,” many organizations lead volunteer and service trips over spring break specifically for college students. Consider going to Oregon with the University of Minnesota Habitat for Humanity chapter or roadtrip with Students Today Leaders Forever.

Career Roadmap


  • Considering graduate or professional school? Explore options and begin planning to meet any academic or experiential requirements, and foster relationships with faculty who will be your recommenders.


  • If you have an internship offer for an unpaid opportunity, check with Student Services in your college about internship funding.


Want to read more?
Career Planning in Your Second Year





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  • Last modified on May 3, 2017