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Externships: Information for Student Participants


2017 – 2018 Externship Program

Student Handbook
Program Overview

Application and Selection Process

Financial Assistance

Program Requirements

Housing Guide

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Before applying to the 2017-2018 externship program, please read this guide in its entirety. A PDF version is also available for download. Questions? Feel free to reach out to Brian and Ashley at, or stop by the Career Center any time.

Externship Program: Basic Information

Each externship program application requires three components (with a maximum of three applications per student):

  • Resume, submitted through the Tunnel
  • 250 word letter of interest, submitted through the Tunnel
  • 2017 Externship Application Form, completed on the Career Center website

A list of all externships appears on the Career Center website by September 1, 2017. Additional externships are added between late August and early September as hosts continue to enroll. The listings on the website include abbreviated information; please refer to the Tunnel for complete information. It is also possible to peruse externship postings directly in the Tunnel: log in, click the “Carleton Exclusive Externships” link on the right side of the home page, and browse listings there.

Students who are DACA Recipients: 

All students who are DACA recipients and have active work permits are eligible to participate in the externship program without restriction.

International Students who have F1 Visas: 

First-year students – International students in their first year are not eligible to participate in the externship program due to visa restrictions. Please contact Brisa Zubia in the OIIL Office with questions about this policy.

Sophomores, juniors, and seniors – International students who have been in the U.S. on an F1 visa for more than one year can participate in an externship only if the externship is a 100% shadowing experience. This means that students with F1 visas may not participate in any work projects. Each externship posting in the Tunnel indicates whether F1 visa holders are eligible to apply.

Students in all class years are eligible to participate in the externship program; however, each host is free to restrict an externship to applicants in certain class years. Each externship listing in the Tunnel indicates which students are eligible to apply, with the exception of first-year international students. 

All externships are unpaid unless indicated otherwise in the description.

Financial travel assistance is available for students who qualify for need-based financial aid as determined by the financial services office. Reimbursement for travel expenses is on a sliding scale ranging from 40% to 95%, depending on level of need. For more information, see Externship Financial Assistance. 


Some externship food stipends are available for students who qualify for 95% reimbursement for transportation costs and are in need of a stipend for food expenses in order to participate in an externship. For more information, see Externship Financial Assistance.


Some externs receive housing offers from their externship hosts. Externs whose hosts are not able to offer housing need to take initiative in finding a place to stay during the externship period, and the Career Center provides support and guidance in that search. Students often find housing with someone from the Carleton alumni or parent network. In previous years, all students who have made the effort to find housing have been successful. For more details, see Externship Housing Guide.

Program Requirements:

All externship program participants agree to complete a series of pre-externship and post-externship program requirements. These assignments contribute to students’ experiential learning, provide information to program hosts and donors, and allow the program to continue from year to year. The program application requires students to agree to complete all requirements thoroughly and on time. For more information, see Externship Program Requirements. 

Timeline for the 2017-2018 Externship Program

  • September 1 (Fri.) – Externship descriptions posted in the Tunnel; applications open.
  • September 12 (Tues.) – Optional externship information session – 7:00-8:00 pm. Olin 149.
  • September 13 (Wed.) – Optional externship information session – 7:00-8:00 pm. Olin 149.
  • September 19 & September 28 (Tues. & Thurs.) – Optional externship walk-in hours at the Career Center – 3:00-5:00 p.m.
  • October 2 (Mon.) – 11:59 p.m. – APPLICATION DEADLINE. The 2017 Externship Application Form is completed and submitted online, and a resume and letter of interest are submitted to each posting on the Tunnel (three maximum).
  • October 20 (Fri.) – Externship offer e-mails begin. Students have 24 hours to accept an offer. Offers not accepted within 24 hours are subject to forfeiture.
  • October 23 (Mon.) – Required orientation for selected externs – 7:00 p.m. (pick one).
  • October 24 (Tues.) – Required orientation for selected externs – 12:00 p.m. (pick one).
  • November 3 (Fri.) – Learning Plan, Waiver of Liability Form, and Financial Assistance Waiver Form (for students receiving financial assistance) forms due.
  • November 27 (Mon.) – December 15 (Fri.) – Externs are on site with hosts.
  • January 8 (Mon.) – Externship reflection paper due.
  • January 18 & 23 (Thurs. & Tue.) – Optional poster prep sessions – 12:00 p.m.
  • January 29 (Mon.) – Externship reflection poster (submitted as a PDF) due.
  • January 31 (Wed.) – Externship Travel Reimbursement Form and all receipts due.
  • February 7 (Wed.) – Externship Poster Session – 6:00 – 7:30 p.m., Weitz Commons.

Externship Application & Selection Process

Application Deadline Monday, October 2 at 11:59 p.m.
Application Materials

2017 Externship Application Form

Complete and submit via the Career Center website


Submit via the Tunnel to each externship position to which you apply

250-word letter of interest

Submit via the Tunnel to each externship position to which you apply

A Couple Tips:

#1          Students may apply to a maximum of three externships. Read over descriptions carefully and think broadly about your options; try to be strategic about the positions for which you apply. Some externships are very popular and receive many more applications than others. Please keep in mind that any externship will provide you with a rewarding experience that will open your eyes to the professional working world, teach you about a particular line of work, and introduce you to new people. Students do not provide ranked choices, and hosts make all decisions; plan to apply to positions you are excited about without being hung up on one specific opportunity.

#2        Before you apply, have a conversation with your family about each externship to which you plan to apply. Consider the dates, location, and affordability of each position, keeping in mind that financial travel assistance is available for students who qualify for need-based financial aid. If you receive an externship offer, you have 24 hours to accept it. Discussing each externship with family before you apply will allow you to make an informed decision to accept an offer.

Externship Descriptions & Information

There are two places to find externship postings.

#1          The Tunnel. Externship postings appear on the Tunnel by Friday, September 1, 2017. Keep checking the Tunnel after that date, as some externship postings may continue to be submitted through early September. You can easily find all the posted externships by using the “Carleton Exclusive Externships” quick link in the “Current Opportunities” box on the right side of your Tunnel homepage.

#2        The Career Center website. A preview of each externship position is available on the student page of the Career Center website’s externship section. If you’re interested in a posting you see on the website, search for the longer, more comprehensive posting on the Tunnel. Each new posting added after September 1 is marked with the word “new,” followed by the date added.

Externship Application Process

All applications are due by 11:59 p.m. on Monday, October 2, 2017. Do not wait to submit applications until late Monday evening. All externship postings disappear automatically at 12:00 am on Tuesday, October 3, and no late applications are accepted.

Application Materials

Externship applications require three components: a program application submitted to the Career Center and a resume and letter of interest submitted to each externship host.

#1          2017 Externship Application Form – Complete and submit the online form only once, even if you apply to more than one externship. This serves as your application to the program and the Career Center collects this information.

#2        Resume – For each externship position to which you apply, submit a current resume. If you have never met with a student career assistant (SCA) or career counselor to review your resume, please do so before submitting your applications.

#3        Letter of Interest – For each externship to which you apply, submit a 250-word tailored letter of interest that addresses why you are interested in this externship at this organization, and how the externship relates to your work at Carleton and/or your career goals. To create your letter of interest, follow the template below.

Externship Letter of Interest Template

300 North College Street

Northfield, MN 55057

[Date], 2017

Ms./ Mr./ Dr. [Host name as listed in the Tunnel]

[Externship site name as listed in the Tunnel]

[Externship site address as listed in the Tunnel]

Dear Ms./ Mr./ Dr. [Host name as listed in the Tunnel]:

[Two to three paragraphs regarding your interest in the externship position and the ways in which the position relates to your work at Carleton and/ or your career goals.]


[Your preferred first and last name]

We can help!

Bring your materials (or even a blank page) to the Career Center for help creating, editing, and tweaking your applications.

Externship Selection Process

While the Career Center facilitates the application and selection processes, externship hosts make all selection decisions. Immediately after the application deadline, the Tunnel generates applications packets for externship hosts. The selection process proceeds as follows.

  • Hosts read applications and either contact students they wish to interview or make decisions based on application materials alone. Each host creates a ranked list of candidates and notifies the Career Center with decisions by Thursday, October 19.
  • Notifications begin Friday, October 20, and continue for three to five days until all externship positions fill.
  • Students have 24 hours to accept or decline an offer. This is why it is essential to discuss each externship possibility with loved ones before you apply. If you do not accept an offer within 24 hours, you forfeit the offer. The next alternate on the host’s ranked list of applicants then receives the offer.
  • An automated system e-mails offers and keeps track of acceptances, declines, and time remaining until offers expire. Students log in to the system using Carleton credentials, and can view, accept, and decline offers within.
  • All applicants receive acceptance or decline e-mails regarding each externship to which they applied. However, it is very unlikely that all these e-mails will arrive at the same time.
Selection Process FAQs   Why do I have only 24 hours to make a decision?
  Because students can apply to up to three externships, some receive multiple offers. Hosts rank their applicants in order of preference, so if a host’s first-choice applicant accepts a different offer, the host’s second-choice applicant then receives an offer, and the process continues. You are all very qualified candidates who could and would succeed in any externship; the ranking and deadline processes simply ensure that selection keeps moving so all positions fill.
  What happens if my 24-hour window is running out, and I haven’t received offers or declines from other externship hosts considering my application?
  This happens very frequently, and may likely happen to you. It is challenging to make a decision without having all the information you would like, but the ability to do so is an important skill that will help you in future internship and job searches, as well as in any workplace.
  Why do I have to make a decision without having all the information I would like?
  After the first round of notifications, no additional notifications can be sent until students begin to accept and decline offers. This is often exactly how job and internship searches work as well; organizations’ decisions depend upon how candidates respond, and vice versa.
  What happens if I accidentally forget to accept an offer before the deadline?
  The notification system is automatic. If you forget to accept an offer before your 24-hour period is up, the offer is immediately extended to the next ranked applicant. Consider setting an alarm to prevent accidental forfeiture of an offer!


Externship Financial Assistance 

Financial Assistance for Travel

Financial assistance for travel and commuting expenses is available to students with demonstrated financial need, as determined by Student Financial Services. Students receive reimbursement on a sliding scale, between 40% and 95%, with a maximum of $600 available per student. Original receipts are required for all expense reimbursements, except for travel by car, which is reimbursed on a per mile basis.

#1       Check eligibility:

Students who want to find out their eligibility for receiving financial travel assistance before the application deadline can simply send an e-mail to requesting this information. Those who qualify can receive reimbursement at 40%, 50%, 75%, 85% or 95%. It is not necessary to check financial assistance eligibility before applying to externships; it is simply a helpful planning tool for some.

#2     Apply for financial travel assistance:

After accepting an externship offer, any student who qualifies can formally apply for financial assistance by submitting an estimated budget using the Externship Financial Assistance Budget Worksheet. Budget worksheets must be submitted to Moodle no later than Friday, November 3.

Travel expenses eligible for reimbursement are as follows:

  • Round trip airline, train, or bus tickets from the student’s home city to the externship city and back.
  • Travel to the externship city and back by car. Reimbursement for car travel is on a per mile basis at $0.14/mile. This rate is subject to change, but the current rate is always available at
  • Public transportation for commuting to and from the externship site each day.

Typical travel expenses NOT eligible for reimbursement are as follows:

  • Hotel, Airbnb, or other lodging costs
  • Food costs (stipends for food are available to those who qualify for 95% reimbursement)
  • Taxi, Uber, or Lyft costs (except in rare cases where there are no airport shuttle or public transportation options from the airport)

Students for whom participation in the externship program would cause their families financial hardship even at the 95% reimbursement level are encouraged to speak with Brian Murphy or Ashley Belisle in the Career Center to discuss options for additional support. 

#3        Receive reimbursement: 

Students who are eligible for reimbursement at 95% may request reimbursement for plane, train, or bus tickets at the time of purchase. Any student who is unable to purchase a ticket in advance of reimbursement without causing hardship for self or family should make an appointment with Brian or Ashley. In some cases, the Career Center has resources available to purchase tickets for students.

All other students should save all travel and commuting receipts to submit upon completion of their externships. Please keep in mind the Business Office requires original receipts (not pictures or photocopies). Students receive reimbursement approximately two weeks after submitting the Externship Travel Reimbursement Form.

Submitting the Externship Travel Reimbursement Form

In order to receive reimbursement, students must submit the following documents to the Career Center in paper form (not electronically, except in special circumstances). Please print all documents and staple them together with the Externship Travel Reimbursement Form on top. Submit all receipts and the reimbursement form together and at the same time. Students not on campus during winter term may mail receipts to the Career Center. 

The Externship Travel Reimbursement Form

The Externship Travel Reimbursement Form provides a summary of all travel expenses eligible for reimbursement. Fill out all applicable fields, ensuring you have a receipt corresponding to each expense. 

Car mileage

Go to website like Google Maps, and enter the origin address and the destination address for each route you drove. The results show one-way mileage. Submit car mileage by entering the correct information directly on the reimbursement form.


Save and print all e-receipts, list the totals on the reimbursement form, and attach them to the form to submit them to the Career Center. The copy of the airline ticket you submit must include your name on it, as well as show that the ticket has been paid for. An e-mail from the airline confirming a reservation that has not yet been paid for does not suffice. 

Paper receipts

Save all paper receipts, list the totals on the Reimbursement Form, and attach them to the form to submit them to the Career Center. The business office requires original receipts; please do not submit photos or photocopies of paper receipts.

Financial Assistance for Food: Externship Food Stipends

The Career Center is committed to making externships available to all students. If you qualify for 95% reimbursement for transportation costs and are in need of a stipend for food expenses in order to participate in your externship, please reserve a stipend using this form no later than November 7. (Stipends can be requested after November 7, but may not be immediately available prior to the externship start date.)

Externship Program Requirements

The externship program includes a small curriculum made up of pre-departure and post-externship program requirements. These reflection exercises are an integral piece of the externship program; the externship application process requires all applicants agree to complete program requirements thoroughly and on time. Requirements include both participation forms and reflection requirements.

Unless otherwise noted, all assignments are submitted to the Externships non-course Moodle site. Moodle is a great way to keep track of program requirements and due dates, as well as to ensure you have completed all requirements on time. 

Externship program requirements serve two central purposes: educational and legal. The educational purpose is to ensure that students reflect on their experiences. Any person can have an externship or internship experience, but the experience alone does not constitute experiential education. A formal reflection component is required; this reflection component contributes to student learning, and externs often enjoy the opportunity to reflect upon their experiences and consider how those experiences might inform future career decisions. The legal purpose is to allow host organizations to adhere to the Fair Labor Standards Act. Unpaid externships are experiential education opportunities for students; however, if these opportunities are not coupled with a reflection component, they could be considered in violation of the FLSA. Program requirements help students and hosts alike.

#1  Externship Program Participation Forms

Form: Required for: Due:
Waiver of Liability Form All externs

Friday, November 3, 2017

5:00 p.m. – Moodle

Financial Assistance Budget Form Externs applying for financial travel assistance

Friday, November 3, 2017

5:00 p.m. – Moodle

Financial Assistance Tax Acknowledgement Externs applying for financial travel assistance

Friday, November 3, 2017

5:00 p.m. – Moodle

Externship Housing Information Form All externs ASAP – Career Center website
Externship Travel Reimbursement Form Externs receiving financial travel assistance

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

5:00 p.m. – Career Center

#2       Externship Program Reflection Requirements

Requirement: Description: Due:
Learning Plan Appointment Draft a Learning Plan and schedule a 15-minute appointment on the Tunnel to review it. Please bring your completed draft to the appointment. Schedule by Friday, October 27, 2017
Learning Plan – Draft After completing your Learning Plan appointment, turn in the updated draft with your signature and a Career Center staff member’s signature.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

5:00 p.m. – Moodle

Learning Plan – Final Review the Learning Plan draft with your externship supervisor, make changes if necessary, and have your supervisor sign it. Turn in this final draft. By the third day of the externship – Moodle
Reflection Paper Submit a two-page reflection paper. Consider discussing favorite stories from your experience, your goals, what you learned, what you were surprised by, or how the experience might influence your future plans.

Monday, January 8, 2018

5:00 p.m. – Moodle

Reflection Poster Using text, photos, and other visual aids, create a reflection poster. You may create a poster by yourself, or you may work together with up to three other externs from your externship site.

Monday, January 29, 2018

5:00 p.m. – Moodle

Poster Session Stand next to your poster, discuss your externship experiences, and answer questions. Wednesday, February 7, 2018 6:00 – 7:30 p.m. – Weitz Commons



Externship program requirements are just that – required – and the Career Center holds students accountable for completing them correctly, thoroughly, and on time.

  • Two to three days prior to the deadline: You receive a reminder e-mail about the upcoming due date.
  • One day after the due date: You receive an e-mail informing you that you have missed the deadline and providing a short (two- to three-day) grace period.
  • After the grace period: You receive an e-mail informing you that you are not eligible to participate in next year’s externship program. Please note: the Career Center cancels any externship for which a student has not turned in a learning plan and a waiver of liability by the deadline.

When life happens: We are flexible on most deadlines if you communicate your needs in advance. Please reach out prior to a deadline, and we will work to accommodate you. If you do not communicate, we will have no way of knowing how to help.

Externship Housing Guide

Finding Housing 

After you received an offer and accepted an externship position, it is time to begin the next part of your externship venture: cultivating your networking skills to find housing. The Career Center does not secure housing for externs, but we do have resources to help.

If your externship host offers housing, it is your responsibility to contact the host and determine if the homestay situation will be suitable 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. Once you have secured housing, please notify us by filling out the Externship Housing Information Form on the Career Center website.

If you can stay with family or a friend near the externship site, that’s great! Once you have secured housing, please notify us by filling out the Externship Housing Information Form on the Career Center website.

If you need to find housing but are not sure where to begin, this guide is your starting point. Please note that the search for housing takes planning, outreach, and – most of all – perseverance.

#1       Use your Carleton network. Talk with all your friends, neighbors, classmates, teammates, and friends of friends to find students who live in or near the city where your externship is, or who may know of someone who lives in that area.

#2     Turn to off-campus networks. Talk with all your family members and extended family members, your high school friends (and their college friends), and other people you know from past jobs and activities. Your goal is to connect with people who are either now living in the area where your externship is, or who may know someone who lives in that area.

#3     After reaching out to everybody you can think of using steps one and two, make an appointment with Brian or Ashley in the Career Center. They will work with you to use the broader Carleton network to reach out to alumni and parents.

#4     Use the advanced search function of the alumni directory. Enter the name of the city where your externship is, and then further narrow it down by class years, major, or any of the other categories shown. Since you are contacting alumni you likely have not met, look at the provided template e-mail on the following page. Use the template in any way you wish, but please make sure to edit and personalize it so it provides true information about you and does not read like a form letter. Do not spam people by sending e-mails to every single person who pops up in results. Start by sending two or three, see what kind of response you get, and proceed from there.

#5      If you prefer, consider alternate housing options like a hostel or an Airbnb. Visit the Career Center website for a list of possibilities in several major cities where students are completing externships this year.

Externship Housing Request Template E-mail

Dear Mr./Ms./Dr. [Last name]:

Greetings from a current Carleton student! I am a [freshman/sophomore/junior/senior] majoring in [major] at Carleton, and I am seeking a place to stay in [city] from [x date to y date]. I found your contact information using Carleton’s alumni directory. This fall, I applied to and was selected to participate in a [one-week/two-week/three-week] externship – or mini-internship – at [employer] in [city]. I am one of more than 200 students who will be participating in externships all over the country this winter break.

Unfortunately, my externship host is not able to host me in [her/his/their] home. Is there any possibility that you might have space to host me? I understand that this is a lot to ask, so please do not feel pressured if this simply will not work for you for any reason. However, if this is something that you might be able to do, I would be eager to talk more with you by phone or e-mail. Alternatively, if you knew of others who may be in a position to help, please let me know.

I am friendly, clean, and happy to help around your home while there. If you have any questions for me, please do not hesitate to ask.

I have copied Brian Murphy and Ashley Belisle (, who coordinate the externship program through the Career Center and work to support students seeking short-term housing. If you have any questions about the externship program, please do not hesitate to contact them.

Thank you in advance for your time and consideration.

Best regards,


Carleton class of [year]



Notifying the Career Center about Housing Plans

All externship participants need to fill out the Externship Housing Information Form on the Career Center website. Students who find housing included with an externship offer, at home with parents or other family members, with friends or family who live near the externship site, by reaching out to alumni and parents in the Carleton community, or any other way must fill out the information form.

Career Center pages maintained by Andrea Kubinski
This page was last updated on 18 January 2018