☰ In This Section

Bethel is where you’ll get prepared to do what God has called you to doand become who God made you to be. And while that happens in college classrooms, it also happens in the in-between times: the internships, athletics, service opportunities, mentoring relationships, and co-curricular activities that come with being in college.

What is it?

Through Bethel’s R.E.A.L. Experience, staff from across the university will walk with you through a process of seeking out, incorporating, and leveraging experiences that’ll help you become a more well-rounded person and a more relevant addition to your field of study. You’ll intentionally gain and reflect on those experiences that are:


Hands-on learning opportunities build skills for success in life, work, and service.


Classroom and co-curricular learning that is both “minds-on” and “hands-on”


Don’t just think about ideastry them out in classrooms, residence halls, labs, studios, abroad, in your community, your church, your family, or just about any other place you can think of.


What happens inside the classroom is interconnected with what happens outside of it...and it all comes together to help you develop as a whole person, using your mind, body, soul, and spirit for God’s glory and our neighbors’ good.


Plan and Prepare

Students consider experiences they want to have short-term, in the next semester and long-term (i.e. post-graduation), the skills they want to develop and the contexts they want to explore. This could include courses, study abroad opportunities, leadership roles, jobs, internships, career development venues, or any number of things!


Students take part in a learning experience—whether that’s a half-day of service learning, a semester-long studio course, an internship, practicum, or year-long student leadership role.

Reflect and Record

Use hindsight for the sake of evaluation. Students will communicate what they’ve learned and how they’ve been better prepared for future work and service.

What will I accomplish in my first year?

Getting Started: Core 5 (+1)

Hands-on learning is a big part of life at Bethel. We want to lay a foundation for learning by creating opportunities for you in your first year. There are five components to the first-year experience. These are things you are already doing, so it’s not extra work! The “+1” is your chance to choose something you’d like to explore. Along the way, there will be counselors, advisors and peer leaders to support you as you chart your own R.E.A.L. path! 

1. Welcome Week/Orientation

You’ll do a service learning project during Welcome Week and have an immediate opportunity to reflect on what you’ve learned.

2. Advising Day

Thinking about the future is kind of like putting puzzle pieces together! You may be asking questions like “What classes do I need to take?” or “What classes do I want to take?” Do you want to study abroad? Do you want to do an internship? When’s the best time to do those things? Advising Day is the opportunity to meet with an experienced faculty advisor to schedule spring classes, take part in workshops or the Opportunity Fair, and gather other resource to help answer those big questions.

3. Introduction to Wellbeing

This required first-year course is centered on holistic wellbeing, and you’ll use the R.E.A.L. tools to reflect on what you’ve learned and which skills you’ve developed.

4. Inquiry Seminar

This is a unique topic-based course that allows students to explore a variety of subjects, with a consistent emphasis on the meaning and value of a Christian liberal arts education. Writing, oral presentations, discussion, and activities present opportunities for students to develop R.E.A.L. skills and artifacts.

5. Career Development & Calling

It’s never too early to visit the Office Career Development & Calling in the Clauson Center (CC) Level 3! Whether you need a job, help putting together a resume or LinkedIn profile, or someone to talk to about your major, this is the place to visit! Attending a workshop or meeting one-on-one with a career counselor can help you make decisions that put you on the path you want to take.

(+1) Co-curricular Opportunities

Through participation in each of the core experiences, you’ll begin to discover what you like, what you’re good at, and what areas you’d like to explore further. Bethel’s R.E.A.L. Planning Chart provides a drop-down menu of additional hands-on learning opportunities that might make a great “+1” to your first year at Bethel.