Guide for Students


Understanding the Basics: Definitions

Service-learning courses and Internships are types of High-Impact Educational Practices (HIPs) and have become increasingly common forms of experiential learning.

  • Academic Service-Learning connects the concepts in the classroom to service experiences in the community. These courses give you the opportunity to provide meaningful service in the community and at the same time apply the concepts, theories, and other material covered in class.
  • An Internship is a substantive learning experience where you are supervised by a mentor at the organization and you contribute meaningfully to the work of the organization. Internships provide you with opportunities to gain valuable applied experience and make connections in professional fields--usually related to your career interests. Some internships pay; some ask that interns receive academic credit; some do both or neither. An internship gives you the opportunity to perform career-related work duties which enables you to beat the "no experience" rap when you go to apply for your first career position after graduation. Surveys show that more than 75% of employers prefer candidates with internships (National Association of Colleges & Employers, 2010), and students who have internships while in college are more likely to develop career-relevant work skills and find employment immediately after college graduation (Pascarella & Terenzini, 2005).

What are some other ways I can learn from and give to the community?

  • By Volunteering. What is Volunteering? Volunteering is performing some service or philanthropic work of one's own free will and without pay, and can be done with community groups, faith organizations, schools, or other organizations. This can be done on a regular, one-time, or sporadic basis. A good place to search for volunteer opportunities is your local United Way. In Colorado Springs, the Pikes Peak United Way volunteer website is: You can also volunteer through student clubs or groups here at UCCS. For a list of clubs and service-based organizations here at UCCS, visit  Clubs and Organizations.

See the SLICE FAQs for more information about what service-learning is, why you should take a service-learning course, how to find a faculty-directed service-learning course, how to find a service-learning site, and how to find internships.