February 6, 2021


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Types of Experiential Learning Programs | Career Thoughts

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Types of Experiential Learning Programs

The goal of any Experiential Learning program is to provide practical work experience associated with a student’s course of study and/or life experience through service learning/volunteering opportunities. This is an option that should be considered by all students pursuing a four-year degree program.

Areas of Experiential Learning that your Career Advisors can guide you through should include:


A part-time, paid or non-paid position during the school year (or full-time, paid or non-paid, during the summer months). An Internship may be part of an educational program that is carefully monitored and evaluated for credit by an Academic Unit or part of a learning plan that the student develops for him/herself. Each Academic Units sets their own pre-conditions and requirements for Internship credit but, generally, students must have completed 45 semester hours of study to participate.

Career-Related Summer Employment

Full-time or part-time, paid job opportunities during the summer months designed for students to gain valuable experience in fields of study related to their major.

Cooperative Education

For Business, Arts and Sciences, and Engineering Majors, students involved in Cooperative Education alternate semesters of full-time study with full-time work experience in positions related to their major. Generally, students remain with the same employer during alternating terms. Most students are eligible to interview for their first work term during their third semester of full-time study.

Externships and/or Job Shadowing

An opportunity to gain experience related to a field of interest usually ranging from one to five days where a student may “shadow” a mentor in the workplace. These experiences are primarily non-paid and can take place during breaks in the academic year.

Community/Service Learning

These are programs emphasizing tasks which address community issues as well as larger social issues. Community/Service Learning opportunities are carefully monitored service experience, generally non-paid, in which a student has intentional learning goals and reflects on what is learned throughout the experience.

Volunteer Opportunities

A non-paid opportunity to gain practical and/or career related experience while putting your talents to use in a needed area.

International Placement or Study/Work Abroad Opportunities

This involves students who may combine working with a study abroad assignment or short-term placement in international businesses.

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