Experiential learning is not only learning through active engagement in the world, but also through focused and purposeful reflection on that engagement. In other words, we encourage you to connect with and function in the world as part of your educational process, and then to step back and think about what you have done, about how the experience has augmented your skills, knowledge, and capabilities, and about how it has broadened the scope of your current and future potential. When effective, experiential learning affects who you are now, and who you aim to become. This ongoing reflection process helps you to recognize your own growth and development, as you translate what you do and what you learn into specific capabilities and tangible outcomes. You’ll recognize your own strengths, be able to communicate them to others, and define your next steps as you see where your own areas of necessary development lie.
Also important is the role of community service in many major scholarships and fellowships and graduate funding opportunities that support graduate or post-graduate studies. If continuing on to post-graduate studies is a possible part of your future plans, creating a sustained and coherent service profile, demonstrating your commitments to the needs of society and its less-privileged members, and being able to articulate the reasons for and significance of your contributions – for your own growth and for the good of society – will make you more appealing as an applicant to many graduate programs, and more competitive for major funding programs. If this is a possible trajectory for you, begin now to consider the funding opportunities that exist, and the role your community service and civic engagement can plan in preparing you for that possible future.