Rocket Career Center

Experiential Learning

Experiential learning (EL) is learning by engaging in hands-on projects or work. Students who engage in experiential learning can apply their academic curriculum and theory to real-world work. Experiential learning is offered through credit or non-credit opportunities that help students advance their learning and immerse themselves in life outside of college. Experiential learning opportunities consist of internships, cooperative education, practicum, student-teaching, study-abroad, and other capstone projects.

Experiential Learning Benefits:  

  • Network with professionals across industries 
  • Learn about the needs and projects in the community 
  • Explore career goals and how to achieve them
  • Gain core competencies that set you apart from others in the job market 
  • Build your resume and transferable skills   
  • Understand curriculum through work-based training

Tell Us Your Story

Experiential Learning opportunities can be educational but also exciting. Help us encourage fellow Rockets to follow in your footsteps by sharing your story below.

Tell us your story here! 

types of Experintial Learning (EL) 

Experiential Learning opportunities can be a variety of experiences that allow you to utilize your skills and develop new ones. Below is a list of Experiential Learning types that you can participate in to increase your skill development.


Cooperative Education (Co-Ops) are paid experience that provides academic credit for a structured job experience. They are partnerships between students, the university, and employers that are typically semester-long, full-time jobs.


Are you looking to combine your classroom learning with work-based training in a professional setting? Internships can be paid, unpaid, for credit, or not-for-credit. In any internship, you can expect to learn by doing, develop new professional skills and experience, and network with professionals in the industry. 


Micro-internships are typically short (a few hours to a week or two) experiences where you work on a specific project for a particular contracted amount of pay. These experiences are a great way to develop and enhance your skills in short project-based experiences. 

On-Campus Employment & Part-Time Jobs  

Working a part-time job  on or off-campus comes with real responsibilities that will prepare you for full-time employment. Build your resume and your professional skills by gaining employment through the on-campus student employment program, off-campus federal work-study program, or finding a part-time job not affiliated with UToledo student employment. 

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Many students are required to conduct research as part of their academic programs. Conducting research and working in labs build the skills and experience employers and graduate and professional schools are looking for.  

Service Learning   

Service-learning offers higher levels of academic challenge, more significant interaction with a faculty member, and higher critical thinking and real-world problem-solving levels. Connect your classroom experience with the broader Toledo community by gaining hands-on skills that will make you career-ready. 

 Study Abroad 

Studying abroad is a category of experiential learning that can help build valuable skills like adaptability and cultural awareness. Studying abroad can include short-term or long-term experiences living, learning, and working in another country.  

Volunteer/ Student Orgs/Service Learning

Volunteering through a student club or local organization is another great way to explore your interests, expand your skillset, and discover new possibilities. Consider volunteering some of your time to a worthwhile cause, and you may be surprised by just how much gain.

Before your Experiential Learning Opportunity 

As you begin to think about participating in an experiential learning opportunity, there are a few things you will want to do to prepare and begin the process. 

Step 1: Meet With Your Academic Advisor

You may be able to receive academic credit for your experience. Academic programs have requirements that must be met to receive credit, so speaking to your advisor is critical to ensure that you meet the for-credit criteria. Also, some programs have required experiential learning, such as internships and clinicals. You will want to be sure you are meeting those requirements as you prepare to look for opportunities. Finally, academic advisors will know where students from your program have done experiences in the past and will be able to give you ideas of the types of experiences to look for and where to find them.  

Step 2: Meet With Career Services

Most experiential learning opportunities have an application process that will require you to have a resume. The Rocket Career Center can help you get your resume in order and also provide additional interviewing assistance if needed. 

Schedule an Appointment on Handshake HERE

Step 3: Search For Opportunities

After you know the type of experience you wish to do and have your resume in order, its time to start looking for opportunities. 

During Your Experiential Learning Opportunity 



An internship is an excellent opportunity for you to gain professional experience while applying your coursework to real-world applications. While there are many advantages of exploring experiential learning opportunities, here are some that support future career success:   

Build your network

It's still all about who you know. There are so many advantages to networking that will help your career success. During your experience, talk to professionals, including those outside your department or team. Learn about their career path, aspirations, and job responsibilities. You may even find mentors that will help you along your way—you never know when you might cross paths again.   

Explore careers

Exploring careers doesn't stop in your first couple of years of college. Use experiential learning opportunities to make sure your career choice or occupation is what you thought it was and if you can see yourself doing for the long haul. It's a fantastic way to test the waters.    

Receive constructive feedback

 Giving and getting constructive feedback will be a skill that is beneficial long after your experiential learning experience. Use this experience to grow professionally and take every comment, feedback, and suggestion as a part of your learning experience. If your experience doesn't offer an evaluation or feedback opportunity, ask for one. It will be beneficial to you and the organization!  

Learn new skills

While your coursework is a great way to learn skills, it doesn't always cover everything needed for career success. Take advantage of your experience by learning new skills to add to your resume, Handshake, and LinkedIn profiles. If the organization offers training or certification is a specific topic—go for it! Use this opportunity to put as many skills and credentials in your professional took-kit.   


Professional etiquette means different things in different industries and cultures. While it would be easy to say "don't use social media while at work," your experience could be a social media assistant, and that wouldn't apply.

To best ensure proper etiquette in your experience, ask your supervisor or organization for an employee handbook or code of conduct. This resource should address dress code, working hours, lunch protocol, and other procedures that will help you thrive in your experience.

If something is not addressed—ASK! Asking questions can help you build confidence and learn more about the organization.   

After Your Experiential Learning Opportunity 


Reflection on your experience could potentially be just as impactful as the experience itself. As mentioned in the previous section, if your experience doesn't include an evaluation or feedback tool, ask for one. This information will help you put your experience into perspective and get some final feedback. When reflecting on your experience, think of the following questions:  

  • Were you able to find mentors and create a network that you can lean on when needed?  
  • Did you apply your skills to projects and learning during the experience? 
  • Were you able to learn new skills to add to your resume and LinkedIn profile?  
  • Was the experience inclusive? Were you able to bring your authentic self to the experience each day?  
  • How can you translate the experience in an interview, cover letter, or resume?  
  • Did you gain critical thinking and other competencies that employers look for?  
  • Did you work with a diverse group of people? What did you learn about diversity, equity, and inclusion?  
  • Could this experience be something you would want to do in your career?

Reflection is vital from a self-evaluation standpoint, but you could be required to submit a reflection paper for an experience that is tied to credit or scholarships. Check with your faculty or advisors if you are unclear about reflection requirements.  


LinkedIn and social media are critical when job searching. Over 70% of employers check social media when hiring candidates, and 20% expect a candidate to have an online presence (CareerBuilder, 2018). Like a resume, it's essential to capture all your experience and involvement on a professional social networking tool like LinkedIn. Here are some ways to update your profile: 

Skills And Endorsement

 Ask for recommendations and endorsements. This is a great way to showcase your talent and strengths. When employers look at your profile,  they will see what you can bring to the experience based on your network.

Licensure and Certifications

ADD, ADD, ADD. If you have gained any new certifications or credentials, add them to your profile.

Add Profile Sections

You can add profile sections under "setting." You could add internship experiences, languages, courses, and more.

Articles And Post

Write about your experience using the reflection section above to post a LinkedIn article to share. Post during your experience to promote the organization and your experience. You may find more people to network with as you post about your experience.




Student Union, Room 1550




Last Updated: 5/13/24