Get Experience scholarship

The Get Experience scholarship (formerly Life + Career Design scholarship) was established to support student engagement in hands-on learning experiences that enhance and compliment their academic coursework.

Sometimes students find compelling opportunities to explore career fields and build advance career readiness in places where their contributions are unpaid or underpaid. This can create significant barriers for students to take advantage of these career and professional development opportunities. The Get Experience scholarships are intended to reduce such barriers.

Experiential learning opportunities that may be supported by this scholarship include, but are not limited to, an internship, undergraduate research experience, extended volunteer or service experience, or part-time job. A formula is used to apply scholarship funding to support the gap in pay, as well as travel and living expenses where applicable.

Scholarships are available during the fall, spring, and summer terms. The maximum award amount is $5,000. Students may only receive the scholarship one time. Students must submit an application form and a resume during the review periods outlined below. Applications will be considered in the order received. Funds will be awarded until distribution maximums are reached each year.

As a scholarship recipient, students are required to complete a Professional Experience Verification Form upon acceptance of the award. Students must also participate in one of the following activities during the semester that they receive the award:

  • Individual career coaching appointment to set goals at the beginning of the semester, with end of semester resume review to reflect on and integrate experience into personal career story
  • Complete the LAS 199 Internships course

Please view our Get Experience scholarship FAQs if you have questions.


Hear from Get Experience scholarship recipients

Natasha Najam
I experienced many facets of medicine
Psychology student Natasha discusses her summer internship at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
Simon Kaplan
I made the most of a humanities internship
Simon discusses his experience with the Book History Lab at the University of Athens.
Jayne Allen
3 things I learned from my VGE internship
Jayne explains her experience with VACorps, an internship program based in Cape Town, South Africa.


The intention of these scholarships is to promote early engagement in students’ career readiness. Requirements for award include:

  • Bachelor’s degree seeking student in the College of LAS in good academic standing.
  • Engaging in a new, hands-on, experiential learning experience that is unpaid or underpaid.
    Please note that underpaid is defined as earning less than Illinois minimum wage, which is currently defined as $13/hour.
  • Enrolled as an undergraduate student during, or returning to campus for another semester after engaging in this experiential learning opportunity. Please note that graduating seniors are eligible for the scholarship during their fall and spring semesters, but not for experiences happening the summer after graduation.
  • Participating in an experience that dedicates at least 60 hours of time over a prolonged engagement.
    For example: Engaging in a fall or spring semester experience that spans at least 10 weeks, at a minimum of 6 hours/week; OR a summer experience that spans at least 6 weeks at a minimum of 10 hours per week.
  • Participating in an experience that is NOT a part of an academic course for which you are receiving credits (1 or more credit hours) for the work experience.
    For example: This scholarship cannot be used to support an independent research conducted with a faculty member for which you are receiving “Undergraduate Research”, “Senior Thesis”, “Independent Study”, or similar course credit. If you are volunteering in a faculty lab and conducting research without receiving credit, however, you would be eligible for the scholarship.

Students who have previously been awarded the Get Experience Scholarship or Life + Career Design Scholarship may not be awarded another.

Application timelines and responses

Scholarship applications are reviewed at three times each year – for a fall, spring, and summer cycle. Students are welcome to submit an application as soon as the documents become available. Applications will be reviewed in the order they are received. Once the application review period begins, applicants will receive responses regarding their application within 10 business days of application receipt.

Fall cycle

  • July 5th: Application documents available; Students may submit for Fall cycle
  • August 1st – 20th: Applications reviewed in the order received; Responses sent as early as August 15th
  • August 20th: Last day to submit an application for Fall cycle

Spring cycle

  • November 8th: Application documents available; Students may submit for Spring cycle
  • December 12th – January 8th: Applications reviewed in the order received; Responses sent as early as January 3rd
  • January 8th: Last day to submit an application for Spring cycle

Summer cycle

  • March 20th: Application documents available; Students may submit for Summer cycle
  • May 1st - 20th: Applications reviewed in the order received; Responses sent as early as May 12th
  • May 20th: Last day to submit an application for Summer cycle

Potential experiences

Experiences that will be considered for scholarships include:

  • Internships - Unpaid/underpaid experiences with non-profits; local, state or federal government agencies, NGO, healthcare, law enforcement and legal, historical sites and museums, parks and recreation organizations, and qualifying experiences connected with programs such as Illinois in WashingtonInstitute for Field Education, and Study and Intern at University of Western Cape in South Africa.
  • Undergraduate Student Research - Research labs, Office of Undergraduate Research, or creative project contributing to faculty research. Research opportunities for which you are receiving course credit are NOT eligible for a Get Experience Scholarship.
  • Volunteer or service work - Experiences with non-profit organizations which meet minimum work hours and length requirements. Examples include working with community organizations, summer camps, healthcare and mental health facilities, or local municipalities.
  • Virtual experiences - Experiences can span from working virtually with international organizations, collaborating on projects, and conducting research with international faculty and students. Check out our virtual global experiences to learn more.

If you are interested in getting involved in a professional development opportunity but are uncertain where to start, or if you have questions, visit LAS Career Services or the Peer Mentors in the Lisnek LAS Hub. View Handshake for additional experiences and opportunities