Experiential Education is designed to assist students in applying classroom learning while gaining career related experience before (or shortly after) graduation. We provide services to assist you in connecting with local, national, and international employers interested in helping you learn and gain experience in your major/career field while working on their projects.
|Hours, Pay and Other Basics|
What is Experiential Education?
The term "Experiential Education" refers to an educational experience in which a student or recent alum takes on a position related to his/her major and/or career interests, and then observes, analyzes, and reflects on the experience and its relationship to academic learning. The purpose of Experiential Education is to assist you with education and career development by giving you the opportunity to:
- Enhance classroom learning by linking academics and real-world work experience.
- Explore, confirm, or redirect career options.
- Develop self-confidence, critical thinking, communication, and other professional skills.
- Improve job prospects by gaining work experience and networking contacts.
- Earn money (in some cases) or academic credit.
How can Career Services assist students?
Career Services provides students with:
- Assistance in preparing resumes, cover letters, and application materials.
- Referral to hundreds of positions--locally, nationally, and internationally; plus assistance in creating specialized opportunity.
- Strategies to search for internships in the community or elsewhere.
- Available in most majors
- May begin at any time
- Usually a semester or summer (may be longer)
- Usually part-time during the school year
- Paid or unpaid (typically $7-12/hour)
- Credit or no credit
- Undergraduate or graduate
- Computer Science, Management, & Math majors only
- May begin at any time
- 24 weeks of experience (many 1-2 yrs)
- Part-time or full-time during the academic year and summer
- Usually Paid (typically $7-12/hour; computer science $8-18/hour)
- Course Credit
- Undergraduate or graduate
|What Experiential Education Is and Isn't|
What Experiential Education Is:
- Internships/co-ops are not "easy." In fact, they may involve more work than a class.
- This is not the chance to provide academic credit for a current job. You should learn new skills and perform new job responsibilities.
- Even if unpaid or not receiving academic credit, you should develop learning goals and be evaluated by your supervisor(s).
- Most positions involve a certain amount of routine, clerical work; however, this should represent no more than 20% of the duties.
- Internships/co-ops are effective recruitment methods, but no job guarantee is expected.
What Experiential Education Isn't:
- Easy Credit/Money
- Credit for a current job
- Volunteer work
- A "Go-Fer" Position
- A Guarantee of a job
In preparation for your experiential education, you will want to develop several learning goals and discuss these goals during the interview(s) and with the faculty mentor, if receiving academic credit. Upon receipt of an internship/co-op/practicum, you will formalize the learning goals on the Learning Agreement Form, if requested.
Learning goals need to include these 3 aspects:
- An integration of theories into practice
- Transferable skill development (verbal, written, and presentation skills; technical skills)
- Higher-level cognitive skills (researching, synthesizing, analyzing, persuading, coordinating)
Sample Student Learning Goals:
- To understand human resource management theories as they apply to a corporate HR Department
- To develop database design skills
- To learn how to develop and write a product marketing proposal
Sample Student Learning Tasks:
- Analyze the HR management structure, research which theories are functioning, and present finding to the organization
- Develop a database to track company inventory using Access database
- Participate in marketing research sessions and assist in preparing client proposals
|General Guidelines and Getting Started|
Internships, co-ops, and practicums are typically geared towards current students and recent alumni (graduated less than a year or earlier) with little relevant professional experience in their field of study. Credit and non-credit positions are available; positions are advertised by Career Services through the online eRecruiting database.
- Good academic and disciplinary standing.
- Completion of freshman year and/or 1 semester as a Webster student and have at least a 2.0 GPA. Most employers require a 3.0 GPA and at least sophomore status.
- Internships/Co-ops are not encouraged in the same place students are employed. New learning/duties must be the focus of the experience.
If you are interested in receiving academic credit you should consult with Career Services or your faculty mentor for department guidelines before contacting employers.
- Academic credit guidelines and requirements vary by department, but most offer 1-6 elective credit hours. Tuition charges are the same.
- You may tentatively accept a position, but you must gain faculty approval and register for academic credit BEFORE beginning the selected internship/co-op. You will be assigned a faculty mentor to supervise your experiences.
- Academic requirements will be determined by your faculty mentor, but may include: journals, papers, presentations, supervisor's evaluation, etc.
- Academic credit will be evaluated by the faculty mentor, usually on a pass/fail basis.
Attention: School of Communications Majors (Except Speech Communication Studies)
The School of Communications is committed to providing students with an opportunity to participate in communications-related internships. School of Communications majors are required to meet academic requirements prior to participating in an internship. These requirements are different from Career Services and/or other department guidelines for participation.
Please contact Mindy Berkowitz, Internship Coordinator for the School of Communications, Sverdrup Building Room 124. (314) 246-7614 or email@example.com to learn about the School of Communications Internship Program.
Students/Recent Alumni in the St. Louis Metropolitan Area:
We encourage students and recent alumni in the St. Louis area to meet with a Career Services staff member for Experiential Education, before starting an internship search. During this brief one-on-one meeting, you may receive:
- Resumé feedback geared towards your needs.
- Resources and information on how to effectively conduct a search in your specialty area.
- Assistance with cover letters, thank you letters, telephone contacts and interviewing.
- Access to hundreds of Internship/Co-op/Practicum listings in St. Louis, nationally, and internationally
- Information about academic credit options and referral to faculty mentors.
Students/Recent Alumni outside the St. Louis Metropolitan Area:
Contact Career Services for guidance, resume feedback, and resources by calling 800-981 9805 to schedule a phone appointment. On-going support may occur via phone or e-mail.
|International Student Information|
Students studying at Webster University as international students/non-immigrant Visa holders who would like to undertake an experiential education experience off campus should consider these important items first.
You must have maintained full-time F-1 Student Visa status for at least 9 months prior to the start of an internship/co-op/practicum/apprentice teaching or have another Visa classification or Green Card that will legally authorize you to work in the United States.
With an F-1 Student Visa, you may work 20 hours per week during school sessions and full-time (40 hours per week) during vacation periods on an internship/co-op/practicum/apprentice teaching experience. Work may be volunteer, paid, or unpaid. All are considered work and must be arranged through these procedures to avoid immigration and legal problems and possible deportation. If you have questions regarding your current visa status and eligibility to work, they should contact the International Student Services Office, 538 Garden Ave, 314-968-6964, Fax 314-968-7122.
With the F-1 Student Visa, you may only participate in an internship/co-op/practicum/apprentice teaching experience as part of their academic coursework under Curricular Practical Training for at least 1 credit hour.
Undergraduate Students: You may be eligible to enroll in an internship/co-op/practicum/apprentice teaching experience course according to the following guidelines:
- Management, Computer Science, and Math: Typically sophomore status or higher.
- School of Communications: Pass Portfolio Review first. All internships arranged through the School of Communications Internship Coordinator, Mindy Berkowitz, Sverdrup 124, (314) 961 2660 x 7614.
- Education: Typically senior status, seeking teacher certification, & completion of prerequisites.
- All other majors: Typically sophomore status or higher.
Graduate Students: You may be eligible to enroll in an internship course according to the following guidelines:
- MBA without an emphasis (36 hours): Must complete most of required coursework except the 6200 course. The internship may count as 3-6 hours of elective credit in addition to the 36 hour MBA coursework.
- MBA with an emphasis (48 hours): Must complete most of required coursework except the 6000 course. The internship may count as 3-6 hours of elective credit in the emphasis area only.
- MA/MS: Must complete most of required coursework except the 6000 course. The internship may count as 3-6 hours of elective credit in the emphasis area only.
Once you have found internship positions through Career Services or through other resources, you must:
- Complete the required academic paperwork and obtain a letter of approval to engage in the internship/co-op/practicum from the faculty mentor in the academic department.
- Bring a copy of the academic paperwork, passport, and I-20 to the International Student Services to receive legal approval with the INS to participate in an internship/co-op/practicum. Also, complete Section A of Form I-538, available in the International Student Services office. If attending an extended campus, you will need to contact the International Student Services office for work authorization (314) 968-6964.
- Register for the credit hours approved by the faculty mentor in the Registrar's Office.
- Complete the Learning Agreement and return to the faculty mentor, if requested.
Must be authorized to work in the U.S. through Optional Practical Training, Green Card, or other Visa authorization to participate in an experiential education experience.
Note: Employers are seeking internship students with certain majors and coursework as well as excellent oral and written communications skills, technical skills, and leadership experience. If you are not yet eligible for an internship, please take this time to build your communication, technical, and leadership skills through campus involvement and/or on-campus work experience.
Non-credit internships may be undertaken if international students have a Green Card or other visa which authorizes you to work in the U.S. You may also consider an internship by using your one year of Optional Practical Training time.