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Experiential Learning

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, research opportunities, and much more! 

Internships

Internships are work commitments to an employer that last one semester or more.  Internships give students the opportunity to get a feel for their industry of choice one semester at a time, although multi-term internships are also allowed. 

Important facts about internships:

  • Internships can be part-time or full-time - Students must enroll in academic courses each semester in the fall and spring to maintain full time status and make progress towards their degrees, even if they are doing  full-time experiences.
  • Summer semester internships cannot be taken with additional coursework During the summer term, students are not required to take academic courses because it is considered an optional term by the university.  Graduate students cannot take summer courses concurrently with full-time internships based on policies made by Graduate Academic Affairs.  Undergraduate students who are participating in an internship experience are allowed to take summer courses along with their full-time internship.
  • Full-time internships must span the entire length of an academic term - full-time internships must be started the first working day after the drop/add date at the latest and cannot end any earlier than the last day of classes.  Part-time internships provide more flexibility in terms of start and end dates.
  • Final semester internships must be accompanied by on-campus coursework - students completing an internship in the final semester are not allowed to exclusively sign up for online coursework.  They must have an on-campus presence to be eligible to do the internship experience.   

Full-time Vs. Part-time

Table comparing full-time vs part-time internships

Benefits

  1. Apply school knowledge in practical work settings
  2. Learning which aspects of the profession best suits the student
  3. Networking
  4. Strengthens resume
  5. Monetary compensation
  6. Possibility to turn the employment into a permanent full-time position post-graduation
  7. Possibility to take reduced course load while still maintaining full-time status
  8. 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 an internship, students will have access to Career Service’s knowledge of employers who regularly employ Illinois Tech interns and provide outstanding experiences for our students.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.