Some colleges actively integrate classroom learning with learning from work experience. Sound interesting?
Do you want to investigate a career or do you simply like to learn though practical experiences? If "yes," consider colleges that offer experiential learning programs.
Three Types of Programs That Integrate Work and Study
Cooperative education. Cooperative (co-op) education programs integrate classroom learning and work experiences throughout your college years. Co-op students alternate periods of work in the field with periods of academic instruction on campus. The work is often paid.
Internships. Internship programs help students find temporary work that relates to their studies. Some programs integrate classroom work into the internship and even dedicate blocks of time in which all students participate in internship experiences.
Service learning. Many colleges strongly encourage or even require community service work. Service learning programs link that service to academic instruction. Work experiences may take place during the academic session or during breaks between sessions.
What to Look for in a Program
Almost all colleges offer internships and volunteer programs. Look for colleges where these programs are integrated with the academic curriculum and supervised by professors. The college should evaluate the work experiences as well as encourage and support your participation.
How to Find Colleges with Experiential Learning Programs
Look first for colleges that interest you in other ways and then evaluate their internship, co-op, and service learning opportunities.
- To find out if a college has an internship or cooperative education program, check its College Profile on CollegeData. Look under "Special Programs" on the Academics page.
- Search the college's website. At some colleges, you'll find experiential learning programs in certain academic departments, such as engineering and education.
- Consult the resources below for lists of colleges with experiential learning programs.
Resources for Finding Experiential Learning Programs
- National Society for Experiential Education
- National Service-Learning Clearinghouse
- Cooperative Education & Internship Association
- Since so many colleges offer hands-on learning experiences, use College Match to search for colleges using your other preferences. Then check the College Profile and the college website to see which ones integrate work experience into their instructional programs.
- Look at Is a Combined Degree Program Right for You? to learn about programs that can put you on the fast track to an advanced professional degree.