Engage in Externships

Each year, alumni, parents, and friends of Carleton offer more than 250 students the opportunity to participate in externships during winter break. Externships provide opportunities for job shadowing, networking, and/or project-based work.

Student Eligibility

  • Currently enrolled Carleton students.
  • International students who have been in the U.S. on an F-1 visa for more than one year can participate in an externship that is a 100% shadowing experience with no restrictions.
    • Due to visa specifications, first-year international students are required to apply for externship funding to participate in the externship program.
    • International students who receive an unpaid externship offer AND externship funding from the Career Center do not need to apply for work authorization.
    • All other international students need to use Curricular Practical Training (CPT). Students are obligated to contact International Student Life to arrange for CPT.
  • Some site hosts may indicate a preference for specific class years, which is indicated in Handshake. Typically this would be for positions that require more in-depth knowledge or skills. Students who have those deeper skill sets may opt to apply and should communicate their exceptional background in the cover letter. 

Application and Selection Process

  1. Search the list of externship positions on our website or in Handshake.
    • All registered externships have CARLETON EXTERNSHIP in the title in Handshake.
    • Finding a lot of externships that interest you? Use our ranking worksheet to think through all details and factors to decide on which externships to submit an application.
    • Not finding any positions of interest? Create your own self-designed externship.
  2. Apply for up to four (4) externships by submitting a résumé and cover letter for each position.
    • Cover letters should be tailored to the individual position. 
    • Some externships may require additional materials, such as a writing sample.
    • Address cover letters to “Dear Externship Host” if no contact name is provided.
  3. Hosts will review applications, some may conduct interviews, and all hosts will rank the candidates.
  4. The Career Center will take the rankings and use an automated system to make offers to students on behalf of the hosts. 
  5. Students may receive multiple offers at once and can only accept one externship.
  6. Students and hosts will be connected via email after a candidate officially accepts an offer.

Program Requirements

  • Register your externship by Friday, October 27.
  • Complete orientation by Friday, November 10.
  • Create a final reflection piece.
  • Complete the program evaluation.

Housing & Travel Planning

  • Housing
    • Step 1: Ask personal and family networks to explore options and secure housing accommodations. 
    • Step 2: Search the Externship Housing Directory for possible housing accommodations. Reach out to contacts listed after accepting an externship offer.
    • Step 3: Explore the Carleton Alumni Directory and contact alumni geographically near the externship site (or accessible by public transportation).
    • TIP: Use these email templates to reach out to request housing assistance.
  • Travel
    • Consider booking travel as soon as dates are agreed upon with the externship site. Travel during break can be expensive and planning ahead can save money. 

Financial Assistance

  • Externs are responsible for all costs associated with travel, housing, and food.
  • Students eligible for financial assistance from the college and international students may apply for financial support for an externship. Exceptions may be made on an individual basis.
  • Funding can be used to support expenses for meals, transportation, and commuting.
  • Funding is not to be used for wage replacement.
  • Housing expenses will not be considered. Please refer to the Externship Housing Directory for housing support.

The average amount of funding provided in 2022 was $450. 

  • For remote experiences, awards ranged from $15-350
  • For in-person experiences, awards ranged from $100-700
  • Factors we take into consideration
    • Financial need and support
    • Reasonableness of request
    • Timing of request
    • Transportation options and resources utilized in the area

The funding application is part of the student registration form, which is due Friday, October 27. Funding decisions will be communicated by Friday, November 3.

Self-Designed Externships

Students are invited to create a self-designed externship. Check out our Self-Designed Externship Guide for detailed steps to create your own experience this winter.

  1. Consider reaching out to personal, family, or Carleton networks to establish an opportunity during the Externship Program dates. Self-designed externships should meet the externship criteria
  2. Discuss the criteria and what the experience would look like with potential hosts. 
  3. Complete the self-designed externship host agreement form and acquire a signature from your host. 
  4. Register your externship with the Career Center. By registering, students agree to complete the program requirements and expectations (see above).
  5. Once registered, students can access housing and financial assistance.

For more information or assistance, contact the Career Center at externships@carleton.edu.