Key Program Information

What is the externship program?

Sophomores, juniors, and seniors are given the opportunity to “shadow” an alumnus, parent or friend of Lafayette throughout a typical day. You may become involved with projects, attend meetings, or meet with other members of the organization. Most importantly, you can have your questions answered by someone with experience in a field you are considering as a possible career. Some remote/virtual externships are also available.

Who are the externship hosts?

Each January, alumni, parents, and friends of the College volunteer as extern hosts. These volunteers span a wide variety of professional roles, companies, industries, and geographic locations. We even have some hosts in graduate or professional school. Most extern hosts offer in-person/on-site externships, but some virtual opportunities may be available. Be sure to carefully review the details of all externship opportunities to select those that are both of interest to you and feasible to participate in.

When do the externships take place?

Externships are scheduled during the first three weeks of January, before classes resume for the spring semester. Hosts specify which week(s) they are available and the length of the externship. After the student-host matching process is completed in November, students will reach out to their hosts to finalize the specific dates of their experience based on the host’s availability.

Most in-person externships last two to five days. Hosts providing a virtual/remote externship are asked to create an experience that is equivalent to two or more work days, but this may be spread across more than two days (see below for more details).

Who can participate?

The externship program is open to sophomores, juniors, and seniors of all majors and career interest areas. Some hosts may restrict their externships to certain majors, class years, or other requirements; this will be noted in the specific externship description.

Why participate?

There are many benefits to participating in the January Externship Program. In addition to helping you consider career choices, you will gain opportunities for informational interviewing and networking. Many externship hosts have helped students find internships and jobs.

Are remote externships available?

Yes, some Extern Hosts choose to host remotely due to the structure of their work, location, or other reasons. Please carefully review each Externship listing to determine if it is virtual/remote OR on-site/in-person.

Extern Hosts providing a remote experience are asked to host their assigned student(s) for the equivalent of two work days (or more), according to a structure and schedule that makes sense for the nature of their work and the opportunities, connections, and experiences available to virtually showcase to their students throughout the externship. This may mean an externship format that is comprised of half-day over the course of four days, two hours at a time, or something else altogether. This time may not be exclusively with your Extern Host; this time may include conversations with other member’s of your host’s organization, sitting in on meetings, working on an independent project, or other opportunities to explore the career field.

Is it possible that my in-person externship may be required to move to a remote format?

Yes. It is possible that an in-person externship may be required to shift to remote/virtual based on organization regulations, state/local guidance, or other health and safety requirements.

If this is the case, students will work with their assigned Extern Host to coordinate the logistics of this remote experience.

What will I see and do during the externship?

Every externship experience is different because every professional role, organization, and work environment is unique. The following is a list of sample activities that you may engage in as a student extern:

  • Speak to a variety of people in different departments at the organization.
  • Hear about the career paths of many people in the organization, including your host’s story.
  • Visit different departments and learn how they work together at the organization.
  • Receive advice from young employees at the company, even if they do different work from the host.
  • Speak with HR representatives about recruiting and hiring practices at the organization.
  • Learn what graduate degrees are applicable to your host’s career.
  • Read/review/research and discuss role, employer, or industry-specific information and topics.
  • Work on short-term projects or complete a work sample.
  • Listen to customer calls.
  • Attend meetings.
  • (In person) Tour the workplace.
  • (In person) Stay with a host to learn about work/life balance.

Please note that most of these activities are suggested for both in-person and virtual externships. In the case of a virtual experience, we ask that hosts schedule a variety of conversations, meetings, calls, and other activities creating a schedule equivalent to approximately two business days. 

Who should I contact with questions?

Contact Alexis Leon in the Career Center at leonal@lafayette.edu or 610-330-5115 with any questions about the program.