Students learn best, and more deeply, when they apply what they are learning by putting ideas into action through firsthand experiences.
Elon students are engaged learners who work alone, with peers and alongside faculty mentors to solve problems and master difficult material. They take fewer, more intensive courses that are designed for experiential learning. In classrooms, labs and studios, in the local community and abroad, and in internships and leadership roles, learning happens everywhere at Elon.
The co-curricular Elon Experiences extend learning beyond the classroom. Students serve others while studying abroad. They learn on the job through internships and tie those experiences to research with faculty mentors. They have transformative experiences while leading organizations and activities.
Elon believes so strongly in the power of the Elon Experiences that it documents the work on transcripts and ensures that all students complete experiential learning requirements.
By the time Elon students graduate, they have a wealth of real-world experiences that support their transition to life after college and ensure they stand out when applying for a first job or graduate school.
Participation in the Elon Experiences:
Study Abroad: Putting the world within reach
College is a time for learning—but no one said students have to do it all in the same zip code. Or even in the same country. When students study abroad, their perspectives change forever. Elon’s 100+ programs prepare students for a lifetime of global understanding and exploration. In addition to international study opportunities, Elon has an extensive Study USA program that allows students to explore cultures, industries, geography and climate in locations across the United States.
For 17 straight years, Elon has earned a #1 ranking for study abroad from the Institute for International Education.
Elon ranks #3 for study abroad in the 2023 U.S. News & World Report “Best Colleges” guide.
Learn more about the Isabella Cannon Global Education Center.
Part of studying abroad in Vietnam was experiencing some of the cultural activities firsthand, such as hat and basket bowl weaving as well as making native food.
Internships: Gain real-world experience
Elon’s Student Professional Development Center counselors work with students from their first year to create personal development plans, resumes and strong networking skills. Through internships, students earn academic credit, gain first-hand knowledge of the workplace and gain professional skills that put them a step ahead of other college graduates. Elon partners with an expansive network of employers who actively recruit students for internships and full-time positions.
Two-thirds of Elon graduates report they acquired career networking leads directly through their internships.
Learn more about the Student Professional Development Center.
For eight weeks, I interned at Baker Tilly, a global accounting and finance firm in Buenos Aires, Argentina. This opportunity allowed me to learn more about finance and Spanish language in an exciting new culture.
Research: Immersed in inquiry
Elon students use smart technology to help older adults improve mobility. They investigate the relationship between mythology and globalization in southern Peru. They help scientists improve paints and plastics, make cheaper rubber or reduce greenhouse gases.
Working alongside their faculty mentors, many Elon students conduct the kind of sophisticated research usually found in graduate programs. Undergraduate research challenges students to formulate complex questions, review the work of other scholars and conduct serious inquiry to uncover new knowledge and understanding. Elon students and faculty showcase their in-depth research across a broad range of disciplines annually at Elon’s Spring Undergraduate Research Forum (SURF) and at national research conferences and forums.
Learn more about the Lumen Prize, the university’s premier student award to support research.
During the spring of my sophomore year, I received The Ward Family Learning in Action Award, which allowed me to live in Ethiopia for eight months and conduct an independent research project in collaboration with Addis Ababa University in pursuit of my dream and goal of establishing a community based nonprofit organization. During that time, I volunteered, interned and researched problems faced by the city’s most impoverished and marginalized resident women.
Leadership: Putting ideas into action
At Elon, students learn how to work collaboratively within diverse communities of people, gaining the confidence and competence to put innovative ideas into action for positive change. Elon’s Center for Leadership offers leadership development initiatives to all students.
Elon students advance their leadership knowledge and skills, attend student leader workshops and learn how social identities and lived experiences inform and shape their ideas around leadership. They learn about the stages of group formation and the importance of ethical decision-making.
Learn more about the Center for Leadership.
Through classes, conferences, organizations and other means, I’ve grown significantly in my ability to collaborate and work with others, present and speak publicly, and think both creatively and critically to solve problems.
Service: Preparing global citizens to build a better world
Students participate in academic service-learning that connects classroom work with the needs in the community. They immerse themselves in service through alternative breaks, address food insecurity through Campus Kitchen initiatives, and participate in Elon Volunteers!
At Elon, we are unafraid to set high expectations, rising to every challenge and working to build a better world. The Kernodle Center for Civic Life partners with local and global communities to advance student learning, leadership and citizenship.
Faculty, staff and community leaders serve as mentors to students in their endeavor to cultivate thoughtful active citizens dedicated to positive social change. Elon graduates are compassionate leaders dedicated to collaborating with communities to create innovative solutions to society’s most pressing problems.
Learn more about the Kernodle Center for Civic Life.
I want to make sure that the community is involved in the building of the school. The people of Humla are poor, but they are resourceful. … We travel around the world and we learn so much, and with that knowledge, we can inform ourselves and see what we can do as leaders. I think it’s time for the youth to take charge and lead the way.