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Externships: Information for Student Participants

Please see detailed handouts (in pdf format) for the Dec. 2016 Externship Program on the right hand side of this page.

Full descriptions of the externships and information about the application process will be available in the Tunnel on Friday, September 2, 2016.

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 2016 Externships

  • May 2 (Mon.) through Aug. 31 (Wed.) – Externship recruitment period. Identify externship hosts and sites, and gather descriptions to be posted for students.
  • By Sep. 2 (Fri.) – Externship descriptions posted in the Tunnel.
  • Sep. 14 (Wed) – December 2016 Externship Information Session – 7:00-8:00 pm. Location: TBA.
  • Sep. 15 (Thu.) – Repeat of December 2016 Externship Information Session 12:00-1:00 pm. Location : TBA.
  • Oct. 3 (Mon.) – 11:59 pm – Deadline for student externship applications to be submitted to the Tunnel.
  • Oct. 4 (Tue.) – Applicant packets emailed to hosts for review & selection. Hosts are encouraged to contact students and conduct phone, Skype, or in-person interviews, but this is not required.
  • Oct. 4 – 20 (Tue. – Thu.) Hosts review applications and rank applicants.
  • Oct. 21 (Fri.) – Offers emailed to students at the same time and according to the host’s priorities. Students have 24 hours to accept an offer. Offers not accepted within 24 hours are subject to forfeiture.
  • Oct. 22 (Sat.) – Offers emailed to students for all externships still unfilled. Students have 24 hours to accept an offer. Offers not accepted within 24 hours are subject to forfeiture. This process is repeated each day until all externship positions are filled.
  • Oct. 25 – Nov. 2 – Orientation sessions for all Winter Break externs
  • Nov. 11 (Fri.) Learning Plan, Liability Waiver, and Financial Waiver (for students receiving financial assistance) forms due.
  • Nov. 28 (Mon.) – Dec. 16 (Fri.) – 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 250 word statement of purpose, 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 who have never used their CPT 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.

The Application Process

Application Deadline: Monday, October 3rd at 11:59 pm.

DO NOT LEAVE YOUR APPLICATION SUBMISSION FOR LATE MONDAY EVENING ON OCT. 3. All externship postings in the Tunnel shut down automatically and disappear at 12:00 am on Tuesday, October 4 and NO APPLICATIONS WILL BE ACCEPTED AFTER THAT TIME.

Notifications to applicants regarding selection will begin on Friday, October 21, and will continue over a period of 3-5 days until all the externship positions are filled. If at the end of this notification period there are still externships that are not filled, the Career Center will hold a quick second round of selections by asking hosts to consider additional resumes for their unfilled position(s). Students will be able to indicate on the 2016 Externship Application Form which additional externships, beyond the three that they formally applied for, they would like to be considered for in a potential second round.

Application Materials

There are three documents to submit as part of the application process, one submitted as an online form and the other two submitted to the Tunnel:

  • 2016 Externship Application Form (there is also a link at the top of the Career Center home page). This is an online form to be completed and submitted before the application deadline. You only need to complete this form ONCE no matter how many externships you apply for.
  • Resume – Submit to the Tunnel a resume that has been reviewed by a Student Career Advisor or a staff member in the Career Center, especially if you are an incoming student and/or if your resume has never previously been reviewed by someone in the Career Center.
  • Statement of Purpose – Submit to the Tunnel a 250 word statement of purpose (approximately two paragraphs) that speaks to the following two issues:
    • why you are interested in this particular externship at this particular organization, and
    • how this externship relates to your overall work at Carleton and/or your career goals.

A Couple of Tips from the Career Center

Tip #1 - Students are allowed to apply to a maximum of three different externships. Read over the descriptions carefully and think broadly about the different options. Try to be strategic about which externships you apply for. Some externships will be very popular and will 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, will teach you a lot about a particular line of work, and will introduce you to many new people who you will learn from and potentially remain in touch with after the fact.             

Tip #2 - BEFORE YOU APPLY to any externships, clarify with your family that each of the externships you want to apply for, including any of the ones for a possible second round of selections will be possible for you to manage if you are accepted. Check with your family about the dates of the externships, whether you can afford to do them (keep in mind that financial assistance is available through the Career Center), etc. IF you receive an actual offer later in October you will have 24 hours to accept. Having these discussions with family before you apply will make your ability to confidently accept an offer within the 24 hour time period go much more smoothly.

Externship Descriptions & Information

There are two places where you will find information about specific externships posted.

  • The Tunnel. The official and most comprehensive posting of externship information is in the Tunnel, and all of these postings will available to see by Friday, September 2, 2016. Keep checking the Tunnel after that date as some externship postings are bound to arrive late. 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.
  • The Student Page on the Externship Website. A preview of all externships (which includes the organization name, externship title, city, state, number of weeks, and classes eligible to apply) is posted on the Student page of the externship website.

All new postings added after September 2 will be marked with the word “New” followed by the date it was added

Externships with Restricted Application Criteria for International Students

International students are not eligible to apply for externships at the following sites, mostly due to the extended length of time it takes to process background checks:

Access Services; Casper; The Chicago Network, Crowdstrike, Embarc; NASA Ames Research Center, NASA Glenn Research Center, State of Minnesota (Judicial Branch), and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The externships at the American Foreign Service Association and the Dublin School will accept applications from international students who have "fluent English proficiency."

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) you will be asked to complete the "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 out and submitting a budget worksheet using our "December 2016 Externship Financial Travel Assistance – Budget Worksheet," which is in Excel spreadsheet format. Questions: contact Brian Murphy or Ashley Belisle at or in the Career Center.

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.

Career Center pages maintained by Andrea Kubinski
This page was last updated on 25 April 2017