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Job Shadowing


General Information

What are the aims of the Washington College Externship/Job Shadowing Program?

  • Helps 1st and 2nd year students integrate curriculum development with career development information
  • Links and customizes the Washington College 1st year career awareness program to experiential learning opportunities
  • Creates first step in a 4 year plan for outside the classroom learning to include internships, international experiences, undergraduate research, and/or fellowships.
  • Aids 3rd and 4th year students to professionally network
  • Prepares upper level students for first destination job searches
  • Provides opportunities for securing internships and potential senior thesis-related research

What opportunities does the Washington College externship program provide?

  • Students can see a career opportunity “up close and personally”
  • Students have the chance to observe in  industries, government agencies, and non-profits and learn about 21st century workplace issues and challenges
  • Students are introduced to practical strategies for linking ideas and concepts from inside and outside the classroom
  • Students explore applications of career and professional skills in a workplace
  • Students begin the life long process of employment networking and career mentoring
  • Students use the externship opportunity as a building block for identifying other formalized, outside the classroom  experiences that they choose to pursue in subsequent years.

When will externships be available?

  • Externships are available to be scheduled during fall, winter, and spring breaks. However, Freshmen are only matched during Winter or Spring break of their first year to ensure that the GPA requirement is met

How long will the externship last?

  • Each externship will include at least one full business day on site at the host organization  and perhaps another one to two days depending on the host site’s preference and availability

How is a successfully completed externship tracked/recorded by the college?

  • While externships are not academic credit bearing activities and therefore do not  appear on academic transcripts, all completed externships are recorded by the registrar’s office and  become part of the student’s 4 year experiential learning plan.
  • Students are also encouraged to include externships on their personal resumes

What is the difference between an internship and an externship?

  • Internships tend to be longer (usually weeks and months) than externships and require the student to work full-time or part-time on specific projects and/or  tasks within the organization, sometimes for academic credit.

What is the difference between service learning and an externship?

  • In service learning, students volunteer their time usually over a long duration to accomplish a mission or task of the organization whereas an externship involves shadowing persons associated with the organization to gain a general perspective on the career field.

Are externships paid or unpaid?

  • Externships are unpaid. Students are responsible for transportation, housing, and meals.
  • In some instances, the host organization may provide a transportation subsidy or meal assistance during the day the student is at that site.

Is Washington College funding available for externships?

  • On a case by case basis, some assistance may be available to some students.

Who hosts externships?

  • Externship hosts are either Washington College alumni, parents, or associates/affiliates.
  • All potential hosts enter into an agreement with the college to offer 1,2 or 3 day externship experiences.

What career fields for externships are available?

  • Arts
  • Business
  • Communications/Marketing
  • Education
  • Environmental Studies
  • Government
  • Health Professions
  • International Studies
  • Law and Justice
  • Science and Technology
  • Social Services/Human Rights

What types of activities could an extern expect to participate in?

  • Possible activities include: attending business meetings, observing organizational tasks; meeting officials and staff members; touring facilities; getting acquainted with the organization’s missions and goals; learning how professional or technical skills are applied in that specific workplace; meeting other industry or government partners; rotating through special units/divisions within the organization: seeing how research is conducted; observing client interactions or being assigned a small project to learn about the work environment and its culture.

Can a student participate in more than one externship?

  • Yes students may participate as often as they wish, provided they meet the GPA eligibility criterion of a 3.0 GPA from the prior semester.
Host Specific Information

Who at the college coordinates externships and who are the contacts?

  • The externship program is a collaborative program of the offices of the Assistant Dean for Academic Iniaitives, and the College’s Center for Career Development.
  • All general questions related to the externship program should be addressed to:
    • Assistant Dean Andrea G. Lange
      Washington College
      300 Washington Avenue
      Chestertown, MD 21620
      or via E-mail at or by phone: 410-778-7776

How are externs selected for this program?

  • Student applications are submitted on a rolling basis. A student is informed of his/her match by formal letter from the Office of the Assistant Dean. A similar letter is sent to the student’s custodial parents and also to the host.

Are any financial costs incurred by host sites?

  • All externships are unpaid
  • Externs are responsible for transportation, meals, and lodging costs

What will an externship host organization be required to do to participate?

  • Interested hosts will sign an agreement with the college to accept a student or multiple students for either one, two or three days of an externship on site at a specified location
  • Participating hosts will provide the student and the Assistant Dean for Academic Initiatives with a general schedule/agenda of the extern’s planned activities while he/she is on site
  • When participating hosts are contacted by the student about their match/placement with them, they will provide the student with information related to:
  • Best transit route to the externship location; parking options, etc.
  • Any security requirements for entering the externship facility
  • Either before or when the student arrives, provide them with any organizational confidentiality or security documents that would be required for them to sign
  • Starting times and dates for the externship
  • Other pertinent information relative to the organization that may be useful for the student to have on site.

What will an externship host do at the completion of an extern’s visit?

What is the timeline for student applications and other requirements?

  • Student applications are received by the Office of the Assistant Dean on a rotating basis. A host is then contacted to confirm whether he/she is available during the college break time that was requested by the student. All other requirements must be completed by the student ( submission of application, essay, interview with Assistant Dean, and attendance at on campus seminar on professionalism in the workplace) before going on site.

How should a host site prepare for an extern?

  • Externships are as varied as the participants but you should plan a day or days’ activities that showcase the breadth of work conducted by your organization.
  • Allowing an extern to rotate through different divisions, units, or departments may be preferable.
  • Providing opportunities for the extern to meet staff, clients, customers, constituents, and/or stakeholders may be useful.
  • Escorting externs to organizational events, meetings, research sessions, and other relevant functions may give an extern further insights into career choices and paths.

What types of questions can you anticipate from an extern?

  • Externs will be interested to learn about your “story”; your position in the organization, the types of study, work, skill preparation you have pursued.
  • Externs will likely ask what types of roles and responsibilities employees have with the organization.
  • As an extern participates in various organizational activities, he/she may want to learn more about work flow, products, processes, and objectives of the organizational units.
Eligibility, the Application Process, and other Requirements for Student Application
Student applications are received by the Office of the Assistant Dean on a rotating basis. A host is then contacted to confirm whether he/she is available during the college break time that was requested by the student. All other requirements must be completed by the student ( submission of application, essay, interview with Assistant Dean, and attendance at on campus seminar on professionalism in the workplace) before going on site.
Accepted Externs

What will an accepted extern be required to do before the externship starts?

  • Formally agree to accept the match/placement that is provided.
  • Sign the Waiver of Liability Form.
  • Attend and participate in a Career Center orientation workshop to be held several weeks before the student goes on site.
  • Contact the host organization to confirm the final details for their externship (i.e. start times and dates; directions to the host location; transportation options; security requirements to enter the facility; contact information for the host, and other pertinent information).
  • Notify the Assistant Dean of Academic Initiatives via email that this contact with the host has been made.

What will an accepted extern need to do during the externship?

  • Be prompt arriving at the host site.
  • Be prepared to sign confidentiality and or privacy documents if the organization requires these.
  • Participate in all the activities that are planned for that day.
  • If there are breaks in the planned schedule, use the Sample Questions to Use on Your Externship Site Visit to obtain more information about the organization.
  • Be professional, courteous, and enthusiastic about this opportunity.

What will a student be required to do at the completion of the externship?

  • Write a thank you note to the host(s)
  • Complete the Student/Externship Evaluation Form (PDF) on the externship experience and the Externship Reporting Form and either scan and email completed PDF to the Office of the Assistant Dean or provide hard copies.
  • Submit a 300 word reflection essay on the externship to the office of the Assistant Dean