Experiential learning is a key part of agricultural education and communication curricula. Research on experiential learning has primarily focused on its role as a culminating event near the end of students’ academic programs, ignoring what skills might be necessary before students begin these experiences. Our objective was to identify common knowledge, skills, and dispositions required by students in two different, but complementary, majors prior to their capstone experience. Through focus groups and telephone interviews with cooperating teachers and internship supervisors, we identified six competencies that students must be proficient in before starting their capstone experience. These are (a) adapt- ability, (b) agricultural knowledge, (c) collaboration, (d) growth mindset, (e) management, and (f) professional- ism. We introduce the experiential learning preparation target, a framework that suggests these competencies should be the focus of early field experiences to better prepare students for capstone events. Our research has implications for how experiential learning is designed and integrated into programs. As these competencies are not tied to specialized career settings, the frame- work suggests common competencies for cross-curricular majors, especially early in students’ programs.