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Oceanography related work experience?

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So I want to apply to an American university (specifically Maryland, College Park) and I am looking to apply for an undergraduate degree major in Atmospheric and Oceanic Science. From my understanding, you need to have a good set of results and a wide range of extra curricular activities in order to prove yourself worthy of getting into university, as it is extremely competitive. I'm trying to use CAS as an opportunity for this, however I don't know what kind of work experience (and where I'd actually be able to do it) would be useful in relation to my chosen major. I was thinking to work with a charity dealing with natural disasters related to oceans and stuff e.g. flooding etc. but I want something more science based and factual that would give me a beneficial insight. What do you guys think? thanks :)

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If you can, try to volunteer with or get a job at a local aquarium. Where I lived, there was an aquarium nearby and many people interested in marine science or oceanography would work in the labs. They didn't really work with the animals per say, more along the lines of collecting water/sand samples for testing and monitoring levels of certain nutrients/chemical compounds. Another good place, especially for atmospheric sciences, would be to see if you could shadow someone at a weather station or somewhere doing meteorological forecasting and broadcasting.

Just remember though, you don't have to have every single one of your extracurriculars relating to your prospective major or interests. You can join a dance team if you want lol. It's good to show passion and interest, but don't kill yourself trying to find activities that relate exactly to what you want to do. :)

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Another approach you can try is to find research institutions or conservation/environmental conservation organizations. If you live in a coastal city or even one with a river you're bound to have some of these. If you don't have anything directly related to Oceanography in your town then you can always try to volunteer with other groups dealing with the environment. If they don't list any positions online then you can always call and ask them. I'm personally an Atmospheric Science major in university, so feel free to PM me any questions you may have. :) For American universities it's always good to diversify your volunteer/work experience, but you really want to have a few things that you really devote yourself too.

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If you're willing to travel and have 600 US dollars handy, then there's a turtle conservation program in Bali I heard about through a friend. It's identifying turtle species, collecting eggs, monitoring nests or seeing hatchlings get safely to sea, along with teaching English on some days. Of course, it's expensive, and paying to volunteer sucks, but it could be a worthwhile experience, if that's something you're looking for. http://www.volunteerhq.org/volunteer-in-bali.html

Aquariums are a great option. An option a bit more off the beaten path is water treatment plants. My grandfather worked with a team of chemists to study water quality and whatnot for the government. I don't know if they would allow shadowing or volunteering, but it's an idea.

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