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Professional Development Event

Backpack to Briefcase: Education Outside the Classroom

Hello, readers of Backpack to Briefcase, my name is Connor Carroll and I am today’s guest blogger! I am here to discuss the importance of learning outside of class, a topic I learned about at a professional development event I attended called VSB Rise to the Top: Experiential Education. After attending this session, I am very interested in the many options of experiential education, and after reading my blog, I hope you are too! Now, what is experiential education? It is as simple as it sounds: learning through experiences and doing the actions on the field you are studying instead of the typical classroom practice. Why might you want to gain these experiences? Not only do they help you explore different fields, they build your resume and allow you to build a network. In an increasingly competitive job market, these opportunities can give you the edge. The two educational opportunities I am interested in are externships and internships, both of which are achievable with the help of Villanova. ​

Externships​ are internships lasting one day up to three weeks typically for freshmen and sophomores. I think these are a great option because they allow students to decide whether or not they want to continue with their field in a short amount of time, just as if these are a quiz and internships are a test. While these are non-credit bearing at Villanova, they are a great opportunity to network because you will be in the companies pipeline, which means they will remember and come back to you. Opportunities for externships are available on ​handshake​, company websites​ (example), and through the many resources provided by the clay center (see link below).

Internships​ are available during the academic semesters for part-time or in the summer for full time. Unlike externships, these are paid and you can earn credits for your electives. To receive credits, students must be sophomores with a 2.5 GPA and work for at least 150 hours. Since I am interested in accounting as a possible major, the ​Spring Accounting Internship Program​ for juniors in their spring semester intrigues me and I recommend it to everyone else who may pursue accounting. In this program, you would still be able to obtain 18 credits in the semester with 6 from the internship and another 12 through the “minimester” courses online. This allows accounting majors to stay on track with their goal of 150 credits. ​The Clay Center helps sophomores decide what field they want to intern in and find opportunities to intern with the Rise to the Top: Your Internship Action Plan. Luckily, as business students, we are also able to receive help from the ​Career Center​ and ​The O’Donnell Center​ on other topics such as resumes and cover letters.

Thank you for reading my blog, I hope I was able to give everyone insight on the various opportunities that experiential education provides!


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