Experiential Learning

At NSU University School, experiential learning enriches academic life and helps students grow into confident leaders, critical thinkers, and expert problem solvers. There are multiple entry points for all students and faculty to learn experientially. Learning experientially means students take ownership of their learning by responsibly investigating and collaborating to solve local and global issues. This type of hands-on education prepares students for success in college and beyond.

Types of Experiential Learning Opportunities for Students:

Expert Speakers

Speakers with experience in specific areas will discuss their expertise and education, explaining to students unique pathways towards research and leadership in a given profession. This low stakes experience is open to all students and can provide a source for networking or curricular connection.

guest speaker career day

Experiential Coursework

Classroom teachers work with members of NSU, community partners, or the USchool community to establish authentic inquiry as a means to teach or supplement course content. Coursework can manifest as day or week-long units, semester-long projects, or year-long immersions. Students will use knowledge gained through “hands-on” experience to collaborate and solve problems.

prosthetic arm shark tank presentation beach cleanup

Special Programs

These programs are shorter than full semesters but utilize a series of structured experiential learning opportunities to allow students to delve into a topic of interest such as nursing, interviewing for a first job, or commercial music. These collaborative opportunities are a benefit of our unique partnerships with NSU and the local community.

college fair


These courses are the result of partnerships with departments and colleges at the university. In these semester or full-year courses, students learn alongside NSU undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral students in a given field. Fellowship coursework may include written reflections, formal research, documentary production, and more. These courses are prestigious opportunities for students who have demonstrated an interest and aptitude for a particular field.


These after-school programs are the result of partnerships with community representatives or departments of the university. In these semester or full-year internships students work alongside professionals in a given field. These prestigious experiences are open to students who have demonstrated an interest and aptitude for a particular field.

Vista Internship

Travel Exploration

Travel experiences for Middle and Upper School students are connected to curriculum, service learning, and extra-curricular initiatives. Political, economic, social, and environmental systems no longer exist in isolation and as a result cultural competency is a 21st century skill of incredible value. These experiences enable students to understand and appreciate other cultures through immersion and hands-on learning, give them greater knowledge of the world, and are formative moments that shape their beliefs as global citizens.

travel abroad

Community Engagement

The lesson of charitable giving and community responsibility is taught early in the Lower, Middle, and Upper Schools. Students learn the value of helping others, and you see that spirit at work at every age level. Students are encouraged and given frequent opportunities to participate and engage in our school, local, national, and international communities in needed ways.

Mentored Student Projects

Students are encouraged to pursue their passions through faculty or community partner-mentored projects. These projects can vary from research, building prototypes, teaching, etc. Students may take an independent research study course; or seek out faculty or community mentors. Celebrating passions and providing outlets for exploration allow students to immerse themselves in deep applied learning that is meaningful to them.

butterfly garden Fellows Program

Innovation Labs

In our Innovation Labs, students have time to participate in hands-on research using Legos, Ardruino boards, modeling, tinkering, coding, robotics, and many other inquiry-based learning projects. Students engage in an abundance of innovative and engaging hands-on learning activities related to a given theme. These labs provide the student body an environment to play, research, create, and reflect. Students in innovation labs may spend a week, month, or year working on an independent project.

3D Printer Robotics Kit iPad