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Offices & Services

Job Shadowing

Student FAQ

General Information

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

  • Helps 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 students in professionally networking
  • 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 winter and spring breaks.

How long will the externship last?

  • Each externship will include at least half a 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 should be reported to the Assistant Dean for Curricular Enrichment.  These are then 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 in a much shorter time frame.

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 these 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 eligibility criteria.
Eligibility, the Application Process, and other Requirements for Student Application

What are the eligibility criteria for application?

  • Student must be registered as a full time student and be in good academic and social standing.

What is involved in the application process?

  • Applicants will apply using the form available through Handshake.
  • Applicants will be required to provide an up to date resume.  It must be created or reviewed with someone in the Career Center.

How are student interests matched with available host sites?

  • When students submit their applications, they will be asked to prioritize their site preferences.
  • The Assistant Dean will then determine a final selection that works for both the host and the student. Students interested in highly sought after experiences may not get their first choice.

How will students be notified of their acceptance as an extern?

  • All accepted candidates will be required to attend an orientation session at the Career Center.  After the presentation, students will receive a letter describing their host and next steps.
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 for Curricular Enrichment via email this contact with the host has been made.

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

  • Arrive at the host site a few minutes early to make sure you get to the right place.
  • 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).  Assistant Dean for Curricular Enrichment will provide note cards at orientation.
  • Complete the Student Externship Evaluation Survey and the Externship Reporting Form.
  • Share something about your experience and a picture to be used on the Career Center Instagram.