Skip Navigation

Externships: Information for Student Participants

2018 Program Information

A list of all externships appears on the Career Center website by September 1. Additional externships are added between late August and early September as hosts continue to enroll. Before applying to the externship program, please read the student handbook in its entirety. Questions? Feel free to reach out to us at or stop by the Career Center any time to meet with a student career assistant.

The Carleton Externship Program

Each year, alumni, parents, and friends of Carleton offer more than 200 students the opportunity to participate in externships during winter break. These one- to three-week experiences allow students to learn more about a particular career field, make connections, and explore the working world. Students may apply to up to three externships and participate in one per year. Those selected complete an orientation, craft a learning plan, and write a short reflection essay about the experience. Hosts offer externships in a wide variety of interest areas, throughout the United States.

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.

Application Process

All applications are due by 11:59 p.m. on Monday, October 1, 2018. Do not wait to submit applications until late Monday evening. Externship applications require three components:

  1. 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. Cover letter – For each externship to which you apply, submit a 250-word tailored cover letter 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.

Selection Process

While the Career Center facilitates the application and selection processes, externship hosts make all selection decisions. 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.
  • Notifications begin and continue for three to five days until all externship positions fill. The Career Center sends all notifications. Please do not contact an externship host directly regarding your application status.
  • Students have 24 hours to accept or decline an offer. 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.

Travel & Transportation Reimbursement

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. 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.

Program Requirements

Selected externs are required to complete a small number of preparation and reflection activities. These program requirements are mandatory, and provide additional opportunities for learning through the externship program. Students who do not complete all externship program requirements become ineligible to participate in the program the following academic year.


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.

International Students

First-year students: you are not eligible to participate in the externship program due to visa restrictions.

Sophomores, juniors, and seniors: if you have been in the U.S. on an F-1 visa for more than one year, you can participate in an externship that is a 100% shadowing experience with no restrictions. To participate in a non-shadowing externship, you need to use CPT. Please contact OIIL if you have not used CPT before.

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

Related Documents

Career Center pages maintained by Andrea Kubinski
This page was last updated on 2 July 2019