What is Experiential Education and Why is it Important to my
Experiential education opportunities go by many different names. Regardless of what you call it, whether it is for pay or not, for academic credit or not, if it is work/experience related to your career interests/plans it can be considered experiential education. In essence, experiential education is any opportunity that allows you to gain real world experience while still in school. Experiential Education has proven time and time again to result in resume building experiences that give you the competitive edge in the job search process while allowing you to confirm your interest and level of commitment to a chosen career. Studies show that the more related work experience you acquire before entering the job market, the shorter your job search will be, the more money you will make, the faster you will advance and the happier you will be in your chosen career. Below is a list of ways and their common names, that you could go about gaining experiential education experience by simply working to match your career interests with your part-time job or work study job or internship, co-op or community service.
Use these resources to learn how to get real world experience while still in school:
Symplicity to search for Federal Work Study jobs.- An on-campus opportunity to work 15 - 20 hours or less, for a university department in exchange for an awarded portion of your federal financial aid. Utilize
Part-time Jobs On-Campus - A number of departments on campus hire student staff who are not required to be eligible to work through the federal work study program. Utilize Symplicity to search for on-campus part-time jobs.
Part-time Jobs Off-Campus - The UofL Career Development Center has developed relationships with many area employers who hire UofL students throughout the academic year and the summer into part-time jobs within their organizations. Utilize Symplicity to search for off-campus part-time jobs.
Cooperative Education and Internships - Cooperative Education (Co-op) Programs and Internships integrate classroom studies with paid or non-paid, productive, real-life work experience in a degree-related field. Through coop programs, students nation-wide get the best of both worlds: a high quality academic degree and an impressive résumé of practical work experience and, in many instances, academic credit and professional compensation for their experiences.
Symplicity for area volunteer opportunities.- In some areas, like not for profit agencies, working without having completed your degree, it is quite difficult, if not impossible to gain paid professional level experience. You should consider trying to volunteer in exchange for the opportunity to learn and gain some experience in your area of interest. You should also check
Service Learning - The Service Learning Program encourages and supports students, faculty and staff who are interested in community service opportunities and who want to combine their academic studies with community service.
Informational Interviews - A great way to learn more about your field of interest from a professional.
- Joining a professional association related to your area of career interests is a great way to learn more about your field, build your professional reputation and network, and scout out potential professional opportunities upon graduation.
Student Groups, Clubs & Organizations - Getting involved in a student group, club or organization will not only help you make some new friends, but help you build a social and potentially career network, gain leadership skills and demonstrate to a potential employer that you one who gets involved, takes initiative, is probably a good communicator and works well within a team or group. These are all great ways to tell that potential employer that you have what it takes to be successful, not only in college but in the workplace as well.
- Your lifeline in the world of work. Mentors can serve as a sounding board to vent your struggles and great advice givers to help you through the unknown. They can also serve as great networking partners with the connections necessary to help you open doors.