Externship Program Overview


What is an externship: *Externships vary in length, but usually last three to five days. They generally involve shadowing a professional through a normal day's activities and may include informational interviews, a tour of the facility, and participation in actual office projects, etc.

What is the difference between an internship and an externship: *Externships are short-term, offer no pay (though *some* transportation funding is available through the CLS), and are hosted by alumni volunteers in various organizations to help students gain an insider's view of a career field. Internships are longer term (a semester or summer), may involve pay and academic credit, and support an organizations work function.

Why should I do an externship: *An externship is an excellent way to learn about the day-to-day work life of a professional in a career field of your choice. It offers you the chance to "test" a career without the risk of long- term commitment and can help you get your foot in the door for a competitive internship program or job.

How does this program work: CLS matches first and second year students with alumni job shadow supervisors. Students stay three to five days with the alumnus/a and observe him/her at work as a method to not only further understand that career field but how that career fits into one’s life. This program is intended to be a jump off point for students to start exploring their career options and talking with professionals in order to: [1] clarify their career exploration and interests, [2] connect their course work to outside the classroom and their future plans, and [3] connect with and learn from alumni externship mentors.

Who can apply: First and second-year students have priority, but third and fourth years are welcome to apply as well.

* Descriptions provided from University of Arkansas, University Career Development Center Website:http://career.uark.edu/Students/Externships.aspx

How to Apply for an Externship

Application Process

The application process for the Spring Break 2015 Externship Program IS NOW LIVE and will be conducted through OrgSync.

The list of the 2015 Externship Alumni hosts can be found here. Please review the options carefully and consider which opportunities would be most beneficial to your current career considerations and trajectory.

To apply, complete this OrgSync application. The deadline for applications will be Sunday, February 1st. 2015 at 11:59pm.

Application Materials

Resume - You are highly encouraged to have your resume reviewed at the CLS.

Externship Rank - You can rank up to 3 externships for which you'd like to apply. You do not have to rank 3 externships if you are only interested in one or two externship opportunities.

Essay Questions - Each response should be limited to 350 words.

  1. Why are you interested in participating in the Externship Program? What are your goals in completing this program?
  2. How do the externships that you ranked relate to your interests and studies? Be sure to address both: A) What have you done that prepares you to take this step in career exploration academically and personally? and B) How will the externship complement your remaining studies at Grinnell and influence your post-Grinnell career plans?
  3. What do you see as the benefit of shadowing an alumna/us during your spring break? How will you take advantage of this connection?

Two Recommendation Forms - 

You are required to submit two Recommendation forms as part of your application. The link to this form must be sent by you to the recommender, which they then complete on their own. This link is: https://orgsync.com/90818/forms/128881. One must be from a Grinnell College faculty member and the other can be from a Grinnell College faculty member or a work/volunteer supervisor/coach. Please note that you need to ask those who you would like to serve as your recommenders before you send them this link as a professional courtesy. The deadline for recommendations is Tuesday, February 3rd, 2015 at midnight. Please give your recommenders enough time to complete this requirement.

If you have any questions regarding this application process, please contact the CLS at 641-269-4940 or e-mail questions to career[at]grinnell[dot]edu.

Frequently Asked Questions

When will we know the externship opportunities: The list of externship opportunities for spring break is released in January.

Do I have to have a certain GPA to apply?: Students are required to be currently enrolled as a full-time student, pre-registered for classes, in good academic standing, and enrolled in classes for the semester following their externship experience.

Is there funding for this program?: A small, limited amount of money is set aside for travel stipends for ONLY those in need.

Where will I stay during the externship?: Most of the externships include an optional homestay, usually at the alumna/us' home. However, if the homestay is available, students are not required to stay with the alumna/us. Should the alumna/us not offer a homestay component or if the student declines the available homestay, it is the student's responsibility to secure lodging for the duration of the externship.

How will I get to my externship site?: It is the responsibility of the student extern to secure transportation to and from the externship site.

How do I submit my externship application materials?: Students must submit all components of an externship application via the online application by the appropriate deadline. No separate components will be accepted at the CLS. It is the responsibility of the student to ensure their externship application is submitted in its entirety. Only complete applications will be reviewed by the Selection Committee.

Can I apply for more than one externship?: Students apply and rank their up to three externships in which they are interested.

What is expected of me if accepted:

  • One pre-externship workshop held at the CLS  
  • Three to five day home stay with the alumna/us
  • One post-externship workshop held at the CLS
  • During your externship experience you will also be expected to write in a daily blog with a minimum of 5 submissions onto your own blog and commenting on the blogs of your fellow externs

Do I have to set up the blog myself?: No, the CLS will set up the blog and you will learn more about how to use it, how to comment on others' blogs, and what to write during the pre-externship workshop.

Business Bridge Programs

Summer Business Scholars Program | Booth School of Business

In collaboration with the University of Chicago's Booth School of Business, the Center for Careers, Life, and Service will be awarding two scholarships to send two current Grinnell students to Booth's Summer Business Scholars Program (SBSP) this summer (2015). This program is best suited for students who are interested in pursuing employment immediately after Grinnell, particularly in the areas of business and entrepreneurship. The SBSP is an intensive collaborative learning experience that bridges the gap between education and the business world. Below are the eligibility requirements and application procedures.

Who is eligible for the scholarship? Students must be...

  • Accepted to the Summer 2015 SBSP Program.
  • Either a Second-Year or Third-Year student.
  • In good academic standing.
  • Have a strong academic record.
  • Students from all majors are encouraged to apply.

How do I apply?

  • Apply on-line at: http://www.chicagobooth.edu/programs/summer-scholars/admissions
  • Application Deadline: Wednesday, February 11, 2015 (to be eligible for the scholarship, Grinnell students must apply by the First Round Deadline)
  • Students should be prepared to provide the following information and materials as part of the on-line application:
    • A letter of recommendation
    • Unofficial transcripts from all institutions attended (Grinnell College unofficial transcripts are available from the Registrar's Office)
    • Essay responses
    • Resume
    • Self-reported SAT and/or ACT scores

What will the scholarship cover? What costs am I responsible for?

Each recipient will be awarded a scholarship of $6,500.  Of the total award, $6,300 will go toward the cost of the program, which also includes housing, most meals, and all books and materials.  The remaining $200 is a travel stipend to arrange travel to and from Chicago, IL.  MegaBus travels from Des Moines and Iowa City to Chicago daily at very modest rates.

When does the actual program take place?

The program typically takes place from mid-July to early August over a three-week period. Check the SBSP web site for exact dates.

Where will I stay if selected for this program?

Participants will be assigned to a double-room in Baumhart Hall on the University of Chicago campus.

Where can I find additional information?

Summer Business Scholars Program Website

HBX CORe | Harvard Business School

The Center for Careers, Life, and Service has formed a partnership with the Harvard Business School to promote the HBX Credential of Readiness (CORe) program. Designed by faculty members at Harvard Business School, the HBX CORe uses Harvard’s case-study teaching framework to introduce students to the fundamentals of business thinking. Through an asynchronous online platform, students complete three modules: business analytics, economics for managers, and financial accounting.  The program requires a commitment of 10–12 hours per week over a period of 11 weeks to complete (approximately 100 hours total). At the conclusion, participants take a comprehensive assessment to earn their HBX Credential of Readiness. This opportunity is perfect for rising second- and third-year students interested in pursuing careers and leadership roles in all industries and across all economic sectors (private, non-profit, government). Graduating seniors and alumni are also welcome to apply!

Due to its online format, students may participate in HBX CORe simultaneously with another internship, job, or research experience as long as you can devote 10–12 hours over a 11-week period to this opportunity.

Application Deadline

For the June 3 Cohort, students must apply to the HBX CORe program by Wednesday, May 13, 2015.

How to apply

Visit http://hbx.hbs.edu/hbx-core/. The application includes a general online application form, responses to a few mathematical questions, and two short essays.



Funding Support

The CLS will provide 50% tuition reimbursement for up to 15 students who are admitted to and successfully complete the HBX CORe summer 2015 program. The CLS will work directly with the staff of HBX CORe to identify the eligible students based on the strength of their application as well as their demonstrated financial need. To be eligible for this reimbursement, students must be either registered for fall 2015 classes or for a College-approved Fall 2015 OCS program. Neither seniors graduating in May nor alumni will be considered for this reimbursement. As indicated on their website, some financial aid is available from HBX to current students who demonstrate financial need.

The 50% tuition reimbursement is made possible through the Daniel ’77 and Patricia Jipp Finkelman ’80 Deanship in the Center for Careers, Life, and Service.


Student Employment at the CLS

Apply to be a CLS Intern

CLS Intern Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Greet and assist students with office resources
  • Provide resume and cover letter reviews for students
  • Become familiar with CLS workshops offered to students
  • Participate in special office events, including Grinnellink reception
  • Staff outreach tables by the Post Office, Marketplace, Multicultural Suites, etc. as assigned
  • Present study breaks and other outreach presentations in the residence halls
  • Use various technology in programs, marketing, and other ideas to enhance CLS services
  • Attend regular Intern group and individual meetings with supervisor
  • Perform and assist with additional projects when requested
  • Provide valuable opinions and perspectives about the campus culture and climate

Qualities/Skills Desired:

  • Ability to work autonomously and as a team with CLS interns and professional CLS staff members
  • Demonstrate strong initiative and follow through
  • Attention to detail
  • Interpersonal communication and presenting/public speaking skills
  • Writing, editing, & research proficiency
  • Creativity and proficiency with technology
  • Possess a good, positive attitude
  • Adaptable
  • Strong sense of professionalism
  • Previous contact/experience with the CLS a plus
  • Must be available both Fall 2015 and Spring 2016 semester
  • Work approximately 6-8 hrs/week (starting Fall 2015)
  • Not overcommitted with campus activities, other work roles, and academic commitments

Application and Selection Information:

  • The online application will be available on Monday, February 9th via OrgSync: https://orgsync.com/90818/forms/133134 .
  • Online application includes a resume, cover letter, contact information for two references (one faculty member and one previous or current work/internship/volunteer supervisor), and the answers to a few short essay questions
  • Please note that the online application will no longer be accessible following the Friday, March 5th 11:59 p.m. deadline, so plan ahead.
  • Final candidates will have an hour interview with the CLS staff, CLS Intern Supervisor, and current CLS interns during the week of March 30 – April 3, 2015.

Additional Information:

  • Flexible work hours mostly between 8:00 - 5:00 Monday-Friday
  • No previous career development experience required -  extensive training provided
  • The CLS is looking to hire 2-3 interns for the 2015-16 academic year


  • Compensation Rate: $8.50/hr
  • An advanced knowledge of careers, internships, graduate school, and the workforce
  • Opportunities to network with alumni, campus community, and employers


Contact CLS Director of Career Counseling & Exploration Megan Crawford with any questions