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Externships: Information for Student Participants

Brief descriptions for the December 2014 externship program will be available on this website beginning  August 18. (See link to the Winter Break 2014 Externships in the yellow column on the left.) Full descriptions of the externships and information about the application process will be available on the Tunnel beginning September 10. After September 10, click here to log into the Tunnel. On your student home page in the Tunnel, click on the "Carleton Exclusive Externship" link on the right side, and you'll see a list of all the externships.

Carleton’s Externship program connects students with alumni for a 1-4 week career exploration experience, which usually includes a focus project, shadowing options, and networking. Externships may include a homestay with the externship host, but this is not required.

Timeline for Winter Break 2014 Externships

  • Through Sep. 8 (Mon.) – Identify externship hosts and gather descriptions to be posted for students
  • Sep. 10 (Wed.) – Finish posting externships in the Tunnel and start promoting them to students
  • Sep. 17 (Wed.) 7:00-8:00 pm – Externship Info. Session Location: Olin 149
  • Oct. 5 (Sun. @ 5:00 pm) – Deadline for student applications to be submitted to the Tunnel
  • Oct. 6-7 (Mon. – Tue.) – Applicant packets emailed to hosts for review & for selection of students for interviews
  • Oct. 8-14 (Wed. – Tue.) – Hosts conduct phone, Skype, or in-person interviews with students
  • By Oct. 14 (Tue.) – Hosts notify Brian about their selections
  • By Oct. 17 (Fri.) – Notifications sent by Brian to students selected/not selected
  • Oct. 24 (Fri.) – Financial Travel Assistance Applications Due by 3:00 pm
  • By Oct. 28 (Tue.) – Financial Travel Assistance Award Emails Sent
  • Oct. 29 (Wed.) 6:30-7:30 pm – Orientation for all Winter Break externs (Location: TBA)
  • Nov. 7 (Fri.) – Learning Plans & Waiver Forms Due
  • Dec. 1-Jan. 2/Winter Break. Time for externs to be on site at Host organizations (any dates mutually agreed upon)

Background/General Information

  • Main difference between externship and internship is in its shorter length: externships are from 1-4 weeks in length; most internships are 8-12 weeks.
  • Many students in the career exploration mode don’t need more than a few weeks to test themselves in a particular kind of work/career.
  • Many alumni hosts have wanted to host internships, which are typically longer in duration, but for multiple reasons never could (e.g., not enough substantive work, can’t dedicate ample time to make it good, organization puts up too many logistical/policy barriers). This 1-4 week experience is much more possible and manageable for some.
  • Placement with a domestic twist, The Financial Times (A PDF article focusing on the role of 25th Reunion Trustee Paul Van Valkenburg '82 and Barb (Behringer) Geiser '83 as externship volunteer hosts)
  • Hosting an Externship: The Pros and Con

Logistics and Particulars

  • The vast majority of externships take place during the Winter Break (December), but externships are also possible during Spring Break, the beginning of summer, and the end of summer.
  • The Career Center coordinates the application process and all applications are submitted through the Tunnel. All externship applications require a resume and a cover letter, although some externship hosts may require additional materials.
  • Hosts select a pool of student candidates whom they then interview (usually via telephone or Skype) before making their final selections.
  • Externships are unpaid.

Housing Information

Some Carleton externs will be offered a homestay with their externship host. Externs whose host is not able to offer a homestay will need to take the initiative in finding a place to stay during their externship, and the Career Center will provide support and guidance in that search. Students will often be able to find a homestay with someone from the Carleton network. For the 2014 Winter Break externships the Carleton Parent Advisory Council (PAC) will be helping to locate possible homestay sites with members of the parent network. After the extern selection process, students who are selected and who need housing should check with Brian Murphy in the Career Center about possible homestay options.

If the externship host does provide a homestay along with the externship, or if the student finds a homestay host within the Carleton network and by using Career Center resources, it is the student’s responsibility to contact that host and determine if the homestay situation will be an acceptable one. The student is strongly urged to have a conversation with the potential homestay host: by phone, by Skype, or in person if the location allows, in order to help determine if a particular household is a good fit for you. The Career Center does not screen a particular housing situation for a particular student, and cannot vouch for any housing situation or assume any risks or liability for injury or loss associated with any site.

Financial Assistance for Travel

Some financial assistance to students will be available for travel to and from the externship site. The Career Center has limited funds to assist externs with travel expenses. Financial assistance will be awarded on a sliding scale based on financial need. (Receipts are required for all expense reimbursements.) After the selection process, a financial assistance application form will be available. Questions: contact Brian Murphy (bmurphy@carleton.edu; x4446) in the Career Center.  Click here to fill out the Externship Financial Assistance for Travel – Application Form.

    Program Content

    • There are many variants possible in designing externships: rotational design, short-term project driven, involving other alumni, and more.
    • Some hosts offer two externships at the same time. This is attractive, in that the externs can “entertain themselves” at times, taking pressure off the hosts.
    • The work segment can be all or mostly observational in design, or project-oriented.

    Program Outcomes

    • Many externs stay in touch with hosts, some with very strong relationships that endure.
    • Students gain clarity about a particular career field and/or organization.
    • Students who participate in a December externship are well positioned for a more in-depth internship experience during the following summer.
    • Through active networking during their externships students can build up their list of contacts for future internships and/or jobs.
    • Employers get an excellent "first look" at possible future interns or employees.

    Among those hosts for whom this is initially a difficult decision (hosting an externship or not), most continue to host in subsequent years, pleased with their experiences.

      Related Documents

      Career Center pages maintained by Andrea Kubinski
      This page was last updated on 22 October 2014