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Experiential Learning Reflection Questions

This page is for those of you teaching a course with an experiential learning component or otherwise facilitating an experiential learning opportunity (internship, Service Learning, fieldwork, practicum, clinical, real-world project, etc.). If you are supervising undergraduate research, please go to our Undergraduate Research Reflection Questions page instead.

Below you will find example reflection topics and questions organized by week. These suggestions are based on a 16-week semester, but can be modified to fit a different project/experience length. 

Remember, your Career Services liaison is available to consult with you on building career-related reflection into your experiential learning opportunity!

Weeks 1-3: Goals and Expectations

  • Why did you choose to pursue this experience? What do you hope to gain from it? What would a successful experience look like? 
  • Learn more about the organization you will be working with, including their mission and values. What about the organization and their work relates to your interests, skills/abilities, values, and/or personality?  
  • A professional work environment comes with a set of expectations that sometimes differ from what’s expected of you as a student. What does professionalism mean to you? What behaviors do you think will be expected of you in this experience? What opportunities have you had in the past to practice these behaviors? What do you think will be the most challenging for you about transitioning from meeting the expectations of a student to meeting the expectations of a professional? 
  • Meet with your supervisor/mentor/person overseeing your experience and establish learning outcomes for this experience. With those outcomes in mind, what are you most excited to work on? What are you nervous about? What do you think your biggest challenge will be?

Weeks 4-6: Skills and Strengths

  • Now that you have been working for a few weeks, it’s time to think about the specific skills that are required. What skills are you bringing to this experience, and what skills do you need to further develop to be successful? What steps will you need to take to develop those skills in this experience?  Learn about career readiness competencies identified by employers here. 
  • One informal strategy for assessing your strengths is to think carefully about a recent situation when you were at your best. Recall a specific event within the last few weeks in which you felt you were at your best. How did the situation unfold, step by step? What did you do well? What was the outcome? What specific personal strengths did you show in this situation? In which other situations have you observed these strengths? Make a deliberate effort to use these strengths more often in your experience, and pay attention to how it impacts your work and how you feel about it. 
  • What has been the biggest challenge you have faced in this experience so far? What strategies have you used to overcome it? What help do you need, if any?

Weeks 7-8: Relationships and Feedback

  • It’s important to maximize this opportunity to build your professional network. Who are you meeting through this experience? Who do you want to meet, inside or outside this organization, and how could you go about that through this experience? How could you leverage the relationships you are building as you continue to work towards your career goals? Assess the quality of these relationships. What can you do during the rest of your time there to strengthen them?
  • Being able to work effectively with people who are different from you is critical in a professional environment. Discuss some differences between you and the people you are working with in this experience. What value are those differences adding to your work? What challenges are arising? What competencies do you need to develop to work more effectively with people who are different from you?
  • Set some time to check in with your supervisor/mentor/person overseeing your experience and ask for feedback. Prepare specific questions about performance you would like feedback on. Was the feedback you received in alignment with your expectations? What surprised you? What was reassuring? What’s one thing you will do differently as a result of this conversation? 

Weeks 9-11: Progress and Alignment

  • Complete the PathwayU career assessment, which will help you identify your interests, personality characteristics, values, and workplace preferences as they relate to your career options and plan. Discuss the ways in which this experience does and does not align with your results. What has this experience taught you about your criteria for an ideal job or career that you hadn’t realized previously?
  • Evaluate your progress towards your goals for this experience, including your learning outcomes and the skills you wanted to develop. In what areas are you making good progress? What areas could use more attention, and what can you adjust in the coming weeks to impact your progress towards those goals?
  • Think about your experience so far and identify a problem or obstacle that you encountered. What did you do? How did it turn out? What did you observe about your strengths as well as potential areas for improvement? What might you do differently in a similar future situation? 

Weeks 12-14: Assessment and Storytelling

  • Sit down with your supervisor, mentor, or person overseeing your experience for a final review or evaluation where you discuss how the experience went and get feedback on your performance. Reflect on this meeting. How did the semester go for you? What is one thing you did well? How have you improved since your mid-semester check in?
  • Name three specific skills that you have developed or strengthened through this experience. Identify the skill, provide a detailed description, and give at least one example of how you used the skill in this experience. This will help you to describe the experience on your resume and answer interview questions. 
  • Reflect on what you accomplished for the organization you were working with during this experience. What happened as a result of the work you did? Make a list of all the specific things you can think of, quantifying those things when possible. (You will use this information on resumes and in interviews.) What did you not accomplish that you wanted to, and what did you learn from those failures or setbacks? (This will also prepare you for interview questions.)
  • Where might you be able to list this experience on a resume? What related experiences could it potentially be grouped with? How relevant is it to your career goals? How prominent do you want it to be on a resume? (For help with these questions, see the Resume Strategies virtual workshop.)
  • When describing an experience on a resume, you’ll want to include relevant skills, tasks, and results. Identify three skills you used in this project/experience that relate to your career goals, discuss how you used them, and what happened as a result. Use this to draft a resume action statement for each that includes the skill, the task or activity in which you used it, and the outcome. (For help, see the Resume Strategies virtual workshop.)
  • It’s important to have stories or examples that you can share in interviews. Think about how you have grown during this experience. Identify one specific moment that feels important and tell the story. For example, did you have a break-through moment where you could do or understand something in a new way? Did you make a connection with a person that was difficult to connect with? Did you recover from what felt like a failure?
  • In most interviews you will be asked behavioral questions, where the interviewer requests a story. With this experience in mind, use the STAR method (Situation, Task/Problem, Action, Result) to write out a response to the following interview question: “Tell me about a time you had to work on a problem in a team.” (Use the Successful Interviewing virtual workshop to learn about behavioral questions and the STAR method.)
  • In your final review/evaluation, what were your areas of strength? How will you capitalize on those moving forward? What were your areas for improvement, and what do you think would help you further develop those areas? 
  • What is the most valuable thing you have learned or gained as a result of participating in this experience? What advice would you give to a student just starting a similar experience?
  • Having completed this experience, what do you still need to do to make yourself competitive for the types of jobs you want after graduation? Discuss knowledge, skills, experience, and professional contacts you’ll need. What opportunities can you take advantage of to acquire those? What is the next experience you will seek out and a specific timeline for that? (Remember that Career Services is available to help you figure these things out!)
  • Discuss the relationships you have formed throughout this experience and how they could impact your career progression. In what ways were you successful in building relationships, and what could you do differently in future experiences to strengthen the quality of relationships you build? Who do you want to keep in contact with from this experience, and how will you do that? Communicate directly with those people to make a plan.