Mentor Externships: Information for Student Participants
Carleton’s Mentor Externship program connects students with alumni for 1-4 week “mini internships,” most with a focus project, and generally including home-stays with their alumni hosts.
Past externships have included stays in New York, Chicago, and London.
- Spring Break 2013 Externship Opportunities
- Winter Break 2012 Externship Opportunities
- Background/General Information
- Logistics and Particulars
- Program Content
- Main difference between externship and internship is in its shorter length: externships are from one to four weeks in length; most internships are 10-16 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.
- Our director initiated this program at his previous liberal arts college, and that college achieved national recognition with that model, which is to say that we have tested this model and we have experience managing it.
- A premium is placed on conversations to and from work, after work, over meals, or at your local coffee shop. It’s about work as a part of life, a common bond (that Carleton thing), and a relationship-centered experience.
- Many alumni hosts have wanted to host longer internships, 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 length 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
- We anticipate that twelve days will become a popular option: this carries a family commitment of only one weekend, with typical timing for a 12-day experience allowing students to arrive on a Sunday and depart on the second Friday from their starting date.
- There are five time periods during a year we hope to offer externships: beginning of summer, end of summer, winter break (first half of December), spring break, and—possibly—students with a “required winter term off” due to study abroad.
- Hosts are presented with a pool of student candidates whom they interview (usually via telephone) and select for externships.
- Most externships are unpaid.
- Our goal is that 80% of all Carleton externships will include a home stay.
- 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. We have examples of very substantive project outcomes over a two-week or longer externship.
- Most externs go on to become hosts themselves after graduation.
- Most externs stay in touch with hosts, some with very strong relationships that endure and transcend any involvement by the career center or College.
- Among those hosts for whom this is a difficult decision (doing one or not), most continue to host in subsequent years, pleased with their experiences.