Experiential Learning, or "EL", allows students to apply knowledge directly to experience outside of the academic setting; EL empowers students to learn by doing. At Illinois Tech, students may pursue various types of EL including: internships, co-ops, research opportunities, and much more!
Internships are single semester work commitments to an employer. The shorter nature of internships gives the benefit of allowing students to work with multiple employers if they choose to do more than one internship; essentially, it allows students the opportunity to experience multiple facets of a field before making longer commitments.
Important facts about internships:
- Internships must be part-time during the fall and spring semesters - students must enroll in academic courses to maintain full time status.
- Full-time internships are offered during the summer semester - graduate students cannot take summer courses concurrently with full-time internships.
- Internships offer no administrative credit - students must take a full course load to maintain full-time status for that term. The internship will appear on students’ transcripts; however, it will not fulfill any degree requirements
Co-ops, short for “cooperative education,” are greater commitments with one employer. The indepth nature means that students will be more likely involved in long-term work projects and see the end product of their efforts. Generally, co-ops are taken during the academic school year. Full-time co-ops give students adequate administrative credits to maintain full time student status. These credits do not count towards their degree program.
The administrative credits count towards the student’s minimum credit requirement. This is an advantage as it gives students more flexibility to manage work and academics and not overburden themselves on either. If a student chooses to take a full-time co-op during a spring or fall term, they will have the option to take zero academic courses.
Important facts about co-ops:
- Students have to commit to at least two full-time semesters - students should contact Career Services if their employer is not willing to give them a commitment of 2 full-time semesters.
- Students will be given administrative credit for co-ops - co-ops will count towards their full-time status for that term, but will not fulfill any degree requirement; co-op terms will appear on their transcripts.
internships vs. co-ops
Full-time Vs. Part-time
- Apply school knowledge in practical work settings
- Learning which aspects of the profession best suits the student
- Strengthens resume
- Monetary compensation
- Possibility to turn the employment into a permanent full-time position post-graduation
- Possibility to take reduced course load while still maintaining full-time status
- Advice and insight from Career Development Coaches based on years of evaluation data
Career Services has been collecting data and insight from students and employers for years especially from students in co-ops and internships programs registered through the school. By registering through Illinois Tech for a co-op or internship, students will have access to Career Services’s knowledge of employers who regularly employ Illinois Tech intern and co-op students and provide outstanding experiences for our students.
- Work terms will appear on official transcripts to prove work history
Many job applications will ask for school transcripts in addition to the resume and cover letter. Not only do transcripts serve to gauge academic merit, but it is an official document that proves the student has completed work terms complement the work history on a resume.
- Access to job postings categorized under “Experiential Learning” in Handshake
Employers who post jobs through Handshake have the option to indicate if the employment is considered “Experiential Learning”. If indicated as such, the posting will only be available to students in the experiential learning program through Career Services.