Experiential Education: What is it and why should you participate in it?

What is experiential education?

I am sure many of you have heard the phrase “experiential education” before, but what does it really mean? Experiential education is academic and professional education through employment-based opportunities or simply learning by doing. In experiential education, you are actively engaged in learning the discipline and complete meaningful, challenging hands-on work.

Why should you participate in experiential education?

It is crucial for college students today to participate in experiential education for a number of reasons. First, it allows you to put what you learn in the classroom into practice. Also, you can explore different career options by finding out what you like best. Experiential education is also extremely helpful when looking for a job. Not only will you have numerous networking opportunities, it will also enhance your resumé and give you a competitive edge in the job market.

Experiential Education Programs

Clearly, it seems like a good idea to get involved in experiential education, but what are some of the programs you have access to here at Villanova? Externship and Leadership Programs are one popular option. They typically last from one day to as long as three weeks and are open to freshman and sophomores. These programs are a great way to get exposure to what working at a company is like and recently, they have become like “pipeline programs.” They can often lead to an internship which eventually leads to a full-time job. In addition, these programs can greatly enhance your resumé.If you are interested in learning about opportunities, you can visit the Clay Center Website (http://tinyurl.com/VSBexternships),Handshake (https://www.joinhandshake.com/), or simply go to different company websites.

Another way to participate inexperiential education is by doing an internship. Internship opportunities are available during fall, spring, or summer and you can be paid and earn credit. Internships are often part-time in the fall and spring, and full-time in the summer, so you won’t have to worry about finding time for schoolwork during the semester. Some of the most popular internship sites for VSB students include PWC, Comcast, J.P Morgan, Deloitte, and Ernst and Young. However, I urge you not to discount an employer if they are not on campus often; I am sure the faculty and alumni of Villanova can find a connection and assist you if it is necessary. Another subset of internships is international internships. These are typically paired with study-abroad programs and allow you to practice real-world problem solving through living and studying in an unfamiliar environment.

CoOP Programs are another great way to get involved in experiential education. These are typically open to sophomores, juniors, and seniors, and students work full-time in a paid position. However, there is no reason to be afraid you won’t be able to graduate in four years: semester tuition covers up to 18 credits taken during either the summer or semester. A few of the companies offering CoOps to VSB students include Johnson and Johnson, SAP, andMorgan Stanley.

Final Advice

I would like to finish by giving you some advice to keep in mind while applying and searching for experiential education opportunities. Use every resource at your disposal: friends, family,and even friends of family. Make sure to use the campus resources such as Handshake and the Clay Center ( https://www1.villanova.edu/villanova/business/undergraduate/claycenter.html).Lastly, be sure to utilize your Handshake account and LinkedIn Profile to make connections and learn more about opportunities. I hope you all get the chance to participate in this transformative experience at some point during your time at college!

As shown in the image above, participation in experiential education is essential to being competitive in today’s job market.

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