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Externships: Information for Student Participants

Full descriptions of the externships and information about the application process are now available in the Tunnel.

Carleton’s Externship program connects students with alumni for a 1-3 week career exploration experience, which usually includes a focus project, shadowing options, and networking. Externships may include housing with the externship host, but this is not required.

Timeline for December 2015 Externships

  • By Aug. 31 (Mon.) – Identify externship hosts and sites.
  • By Sep. 15 (Tue.) – Post externship descriptions in the Tunnel and start promoting the opportunities to students.
  • Sep. 16 (Wed.) – December Externship Information Session - 7:00-8:00 pm. Location: Olin 149
  • Sep. 17 (Thu.) – Repeat of December Externship Information Session - 12:00-1:00 pm. Location: Olin 149
  • Oct. 14 (Wed.) – 11:59 pm - Deadline for student externship applications to be submitted to the Tunnel.
  • Oct. 16 (Fri.) – Applicant packets emailed to hosts for review & for selection.
  • Oct. 12-27 (Mon.-Tue.) – Hosts review applications and rank applicants.
  • Oct. 30 (Fri.) – Absolute deadline for hosts to notify Brian about their selections.
  • On or before Oct. 30 (Fri.) – Brian sends notifications to students selected/not selected. Students have 24 hours to accept an offer. Offers not accepted within 24 hours subject to forfeiture.
  • Weeks of Oct. 26-30 and Nov. 2-6 – Orientation sessions for all Winter Break externs. Six sessions, all the same. Sign up for just one session in the Tunnel.
  • Nov. 30-Dec. 18 – Time for externs to be on site at Host organizations.

Background/General Information

  • Main difference between externship and internship is in its shorter length: externships are from 1-3 weeks in length; most internships are 8-12 weeks.
  • In career exploration phase, students are able 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 1-3 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

  • Carleton's externships take place during the Winter Break (December) each year.
  • The Career Center coordinates the application process and all applications are submitted through the Tunnel (Carleton's online job/internship board). All externship applications require a resume and a cover letter, although some externship hosts may require additional materials.
  • Hosts will identify their student candidate preferences to Brian, who will extend the offer to the students.
  • First- through fourth-year students are eligible to participate in the externship program; however, each host is free to restrict their externship to a specific class year. International students MUST see Brisa Zubia in the OIIL office before their application materials can be considered. Special Note: International students in their first year are not eligible to participate in the externship program due to visa restrictions. All questions about this should be addressed to Brisa Zubia in the OIIL Office.
  • All externships are unpaid unless indicated otherwise in the description.

Housing Information

Some Carleton externs will be offered housing with their externship host. Externs whose host is not able to offer housing 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 housing with someone from within the Carleton network.

Once you have secured housing for your externship (and this includes if your externship came with housing) please follow this link to complete our "Externship Housing Information Form."


If the externship host does provide housing along with the externship, or if the student finds a housing 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 housing situation will be an acceptable one. The student is strongly urged to have a conversation with the potential housing 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 with demonstrated financial need will be available for travel to and from the externship site. Financial assistance will be awarded on a sliding scale based on financial need, with a maximum of $600 offered to students. (Receipts are required for all expense reimbursements.) After you have been offered an externship and have accepted it, you can formally apply for financial assistance by filling in and submitting an estimate of your budget using our online financial assistance application form. Questions: contact Brian Murphy (; x4446) in the Career Center. 

    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 12 February 2016