What exactly IS experiential learning?
Experiential learning is the development of knowledge, skills, abilities, values, behaviors and attitudes through first-hand experiences outside of the traditional classroom. Experiential learning involves learning through doing, but more importantly “learning through reflection on doing” and can involve an array of hands-on activities and experiences. Students who participate in experiential learning develop critical thinking and problem solving skills and are much better prepared for the workforce or advanced study after graduation.
What does this mean for you?
All first-year and new transfer undergraduate students (starting in fall 2016) are required to complete at least one experiential learning activity before graduation. Our faculty have identified courses and other activities that will fulfill the requirement for students in each school and college. Your advisor will help you find the right experiential learning opportunities for you.
When should you complete the experiential learning requirement?
You may fulfill the requirement at any time during your undergraduate studies. Some experiential learning opportunities are more exploratory, while others are geared toward professional preparation. They are all valuable, and many students will pursue multiple experiential learning opportunities. Many students will not fulfill their requirement until the third or fourth year.
Who should I contact for questions regarding courses and activities that will fulfill the requirement?
First, check our website to see what opportunities you will have to fulfill the requirement within your major. If you have questions about courses or are nearing graduation, contact your advisor or your school/college’s certification officer to see what your options are. The Office of Experiential Learning does not have the ability to enroll you in a course.
If I change majors or have more than one major, will the requirement need to be fulfilled more than once?
No, once the requirement has been satisfied, you will not have to fulfill it again, even if you change majors or change colleges. Most students take advantage of more than one EL opportunity during their college careers, but it’s the first one that fulfills the requirement.
What are some examples of experiential learning?
Experiential learning takes many forms, including creative production, study abroad and field schools, internships, leadership opportunities, faculty-mentored research, and service-learning. You can check out the list of approved activities that includes an initial list of approved courses. Talk with your advisor to find out what new opportunities might be available and what options are best for you.
What if I did an experiential learning activity at my old school?
The University of Georgia cannot retroactively give you credit for past activities. Most majors offer either a large number of opportunities or specific required courses that fulfill the requirement.
Is there a way to get an exception for the requirement?
In rare cases, students who are in danger of not being able to fulfill the requirement before graduation may be able to get an exception. If you come across a student in this situation, reach out to your certification officer as soon as possible. It is up to the college to approve exceptions, and they must be done so prior to the activity taking place. If the college approves the exception, the paperwork will be sent to the Office of University Experiential Learning to be applied in DegreeWorks. Please note that exceptions will not be visible on the experiential learning transcript at this time.
Will my summer internship satisfy the requirement?
If your internship is listed on your school/college’s list of approved activities, it will satisfy the requirement. Otherwise, it will not.
Am I limited to just one experiential learning opportunity while at UGA?
Absolutely not. Experiential learning should be impactful experiences that help position students for success in the classroom and after graduation, and they’re not mutually exclusive. Once the Experiential Learning Requirement has been satisfied, you will not have to fulfill it again, but students can—and often do—engage in more than one form of experiential learning prior to graduation.
What if I can’t afford to study abroad?
Most experiential learning activities are available at no additional cost to you. The Office of Experiential Learning offers a competitive scholarship with awards up to $2500 once each semester to assist students with materials, supplies, travel, and living expenses associated with ANY UGA approved experiential learning activity, including study abroad. You can get more information and apply for the scholarship on our Resources page. If you are interested in study abroad, there are other resources that can help with the added expense. You may use your federal or state financial aid, including the HOPE or Zell Miller scholarships, or student loans, to study abroad on a UGA study abroad or exchange program. There are also merit and need-based scholarships and fellowships to help support the cost of a program abroad. Further information about funding a study abroad experience may be found on the Education Abroad site under Funding & Scholarships.