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Internships and Professional Experience

Internships (credit-bearing) and professional experiences (non-credit bearing) are experiential learning opportunities that help students synthesize, integrate, and apply academic knowledge in work settings and solidify career and life goals. Through internships and professional experiences learning becomes deeper, more meaningful, and ultimately more useful because students are putting theory into practice. These opportunities expose students to the reality of the work place and are integral in helping them prepare for the transition from student to professional.

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Opportunities to Earn this Card

Click here to see the opportunities.

Will My Experience Count as a Card?

To count as a Card, the experience must meet these essential components. 

Card Characteristics


  • Project-Oriented: The student’s experience included intentional real-world activities in a professional setting or context.
  • Time Commitment: The student’s experience lasted over a significant duration of time.  Relative duration and time commitment were discussed with the mentor(s) and supervisor at the beginning of the experience. Internships must adhere to university/departmental guidelines (each credit hour earned=42 work hours). Professional Experiences must be a minimum of 60 hours over the course of the semester/term.
  • Concrete Outcome: The student produces tangible evidence reflective of their experience. Evidence might include writing press releases, drafting a consulting report, creating a marketing plan, developing a web site, analyzing data and compiling reports, etc.
  • Authentic Experience: The level of scholarship and engagement was appropriate to the field(s) of study.  The Internship or Professional Experience should align with the student’s career interest and/or course of study.


  • Hands-on: The student’s experience included an application of knowledge and skill. Student is assigned specific roles and responsibilities.
  • Student Ownership: The student’s ideas were original and the student took at least partial responsibility for the scope and direction of the project.


  •  Student Reflection: The student showed evidence of reflective thinking about the experience. Student will complete a final evaluation of the experience. Student will include experience on resume and might be asked to create an e-Portfolio, participate in a poster presentation, keep a journal, etc.
  • Mentorship/Supervision: The student worked with one or more faculty/staff member(s) who served as a guide(s) and mentor(s). Student must also have supervisor who will provide an orientation, be available to answer questions, assign duties, provide constructive feedback and complete a final evaluation.


  •  Evidence of Change: Engagement promoted change or increased awareness in the organization. Student’s tasks and projects made a meaningful impact.
  • Personal Transformation:Student had opportunities to reshape their personal and academic lenses. Student developed confidence and acquired professional skills. Experience helped student determine how the position/industry aligns with their interests, skills, values and personality.

Learning Outcomes

  • Students will connect theory to practice and vice versa.
  • Students will adapt to dynamic situations; employ and develop a range of professional skills (such as technical, analytical, organizational, leadership, and interpersonal skills).
  • Students will practice teamwork; demonstrate creative problem solving.
  • Students will exhibit a strong work ethic and initiative; display integrity in decision making.
  • Students will engage in reflection and demonstrate self-awareness; display a passion and openness for continual learning.

Personalized Cardinal Experience 

Many courses, co-curricular activities, research opportunities, non-credit bearing work, and off-campus experiences can serve as a Personalized Cardinal Experience (PCE). Review the application for the Internships and Professional Experience Card to determine if an experience may qualify. Each Personalized Cardinal Experience needs to be sponsored by a faculty or staff member who will help you identify how the experience will meet the criteria for earning a Card. A PCE Checklist should be completed with your sponsor prior to participation. 

To start your Personalized Cardinal Experience journey complete the form below with your Card sponsor. 

Personalized Cardinal Experience Internships and Professional Experience

More Information

For more information on internship and professional experience opportunities visit the Center for Career and Professional Development webpage.


Kathryn Plank
Interim Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs & Dean of University Programs

Tabatha Piper
Five Cards Graduate Assistant

Patricia Wilson
Five Cards Faculty Liaison

p/ 614.823.1501
e/ 5cards@otterbein.edu

Internships and Professional Experience