As a Dartmouth student you may find yourself in an awkward place relative to your friends on a semester schedule. (The first off-term I had, I was asked if I was home on suspension.) A six-week break between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, ten week terms in winter and spring– all of these time periods may require you to be creative in finding ways to build your professional experience. Frequently, you may find yourself explaining the D Plan to employers and other potential internship supervisors. Here are two alternatives:

1. Consider a Research Experience. According to Undergraduate Dean Brian Reed, engaging in research is a very rewarding but often “underutilized option” that is “a great compliment to the Dartmouth in-class experience.” Not only does research benefit those with eventual graduate school aspirations and provide students with a “direct opportunity to apply the theories and concepts learned in class,” but it also may help you in the long-term. According to Dean Reed “Students who conduct research with faculty tend to have better outcomes (i.e., GPA and graduation rates) than similar peers.”

Bottom line: Research is a great alternative to the typical internship off-term. It “provides students with a very unique peak inside the faculty experience” while promoting the faculty-student relationship, and it is an excellent opportunity to engage in hands-on work, to be introduced “to other scholars in a particular field,” and to develop tangible skills to better market yourself for future goals.

2. Consider offering your skills to an organization or potential employer who has a special project they need done. Check out this free e-book, “The Recession Proof Graduate” for advice on how to make this happen.