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Experiential Learning

Please note that this page has been updated to reflect changes and new options in light of COVID-19.


A hallmark of the University Honors Program involves bringing ideas to life. One of the ways the honors experience differs from the traditional university experience is through the honors experiential learning component.

This requirement will be a little different for the 2020-2021 academic year. We will NOT require that students engage in any face-to-face activities, including volunteering. In fact, we have developed alternative activities designed to help students think about their growth and development within the goals and ideas of the Honors Program’s experiential learning requirement and with a focus on their futures.

The Honors Program sees experiential learning activities falling into the following three categories, and we will discuss the 2020-2021 options with reference to them. Click on the links for full details.

Academic – These involve activities in the classroom or the research environment that are beyond being a typical student.

Service-Learning/Volunteer – These involve direct service with community organizations, alternative break trips, and service-learning experiences.

Leadership – These involve taking on leadership roles in campus and community organizations.

Experiential Learning for Honors Students in an FYE Class – new for this year

Honors students in honors sections of the first-year experience seminar will focus on exploring potential experiential learning activities that they might engage during their later years in the program. They will choose an activity within each category above, and submit a short assignment on these potential activities in their FYE class.

Students in Honors FYE will not complete surveys this year.

Experiential Learning for Honors Students beyond the FYE Class – two options: traditional and new

We have two different options for older students: We will allow traditional options to count, if a student wishes to do so, or students may choose to work on their individual growth and professional development. Please note: The Honors Program is not requiring that students engage in face-to-face activities to fulfill experiential learning this year.

Traditional Options: If a student has secured one of the traditional options and would like to use this activity for the requirement they may do so. This includes virtual versions of activities, too: online internships, virtual student teaching, virtual volunteer experiences, etc.

New Option for 2020-2021: We are happy to offer a new option this year that is focused on student growth and development. For this option, students will engage in activities–including virtual activities–where they can explore their chosen career or develop skills in new ways.

Students will seek out and choose activities to engage in such as: conferences, webinars, workshops, career exploration activities, resume and cover letter development and other options that help a student prepare for their future. We do not require a minimum or maximum of activities or hours in this category.  In the spring, we will ask for a brief report on your chosen activities and how these helped you grow, develop, and prepare for the next steps after Georgia Southern.

Need ideas for the new option? Talk to your professors and advisors for information on conferences or webinars in your fields or from your department and college. Also, be sure to check with the Office of Career and Professional Development for virtual professional development opportunities and take a look at Handshake while you’re there.

Summary of steps: Regardless of the option a student chooses, they will still need to follow these steps:

  • Honors students not in FYE class will still complete the Experiential Learning Activity surveys. In the fall, students will select their plans in the registration survey, and in the spring students will reflect and tell us what they learned in the reflection survey.
  • As with previous years, we will expect the fall registration survey to be complete by September 30, and the spring reflection survey to be complete by April 30.
  • Failure to complete any of these steps may result in removal from the University Honors Program.
  • Note for fall semester graduates: If you begin your final semester with one last experiential learning activity to complete, then you must complete it during your final semester. A reflection survey will be sent in mid November and due by the last day of fall classes.
  • Note on summer projects: Students who engaged in an activity over the summer who wish to have it count for the 2020-2021 school year should contact Dr. Desiderio.

Any questions? Please contact Dr. Francis Desiderio at

We look forward to returning to our typical in-person and face-to-face activities in the 2021-2022 school year.

Last updated: 8/31/2020