​Share your knowledge and help students explore their career interests this January! We invite you to participate in our job-shadowing program.

Students participate in externships to gain a realistic understanding of a career field, explore career options related to their major, and learn the daily activities of an occupation. Externships are helpful to students as they plan for their future. As an extern host, you have the opportunity to support a Lafayette student in a very personal way. Alumni and parent volunteers are vital to serving more than 300 sophomore, junior, and senior students who engage in externships each January.​​

The following is information can help support you as you plan a meaningful and successful experience for your extern:

Externship Hosting Timeline

When does the program start and end?


  • Host applications due to Career Services by the last week of September.


  • Student applications due to Career Services the last week of October.
  • Hosts begin planning externship itinerary.


  • Hosts receive names and resumes of matched students during the last week of November.
  • Hosts continue creating itinerary for the extern(s). This includes talking to others at the host’s employer about spending time with the student.
  • Students attend mandatory orientation.


  • Hosts can expect students to initiate contact between late November and early December.
  • Students and hosts continue communications and planning throughout the month.
  • Hosts finalize itineraries for students and review all specifics with their externs prior to the holidays.


  • Externships take place the first three full weeks of January, after the New Year holiday.
  • Contact Career Services with any concerns or changes in plans.


  • Hosts complete evaluations by mid-February.

Tips on Hosting an Externship

Suggested externship activities for job shadowing externships

  • 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 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 the host’s career.
  • Read material and have someone available to answer questions.
  • Work on short-term projects (not filing or copying).
  • Tour the workplace.
  • Stay with a host family to learn about work/life balance.
  • Listen to customer calls.
  • Attend meetings.

Click here to view a sample job shadowing itinerary.

Suggested externship activities for graduate school externship

  • Attend classes with host.
  • Sit in on planning meetings with faculty advisor.
  • Talk with host and other graduate students about their research/focus.
  • Talk with host and other graduate students about their post-graduation plans.
  • Help host with current projects, lab, field, etc.
  • Tour the campus.
  • Learn about graduate admissions process.
  • Stay with host to learn about student/social life balance.

How to prepare your extern

  • Provide your extern with information (electronic and/or print) about your organization.
  • Give the extern guidelines for dress and other etiquette rules of your workplace.
  • Discuss housing arrangements, if applicable.
  • Provide a detailed itinerary including directions to your workplace.

How does Career Services help the externs prepare?

  • All externs attend a mandatory orientation in mid-November.
  • Orientation content includes: basic etiquette, professional behavior and dress, guidelines for communicating with the host, and other program specifics.
  • The majority of externs currently work with a Career Services counselor on a regular basis.
  • Externs are told to make their initial contact with the host by telephone.​

Host Guidelines & FAQs

Who are the externs?

Sophomores, juniors, and seniors of all majors participate in externships. This is a career exploration activity, so many externs do not have solidly formed ideas about careers. Students are matched with hosts based on your criteria, their involvement with the Office of Career Services, and the quality of their application.

How is the externship assignment made?

Sophomores, juniors, and seniors are provided with a booklet describing all the available externships. They complete an application listing their top six externship choices, along with a resume and an essay. Career services then performs the matching process using the information provided by students as well as any criteria outlined by each externship host.

Once I am assigned an extern, what happens next?

It is the student’s responsibility to contact you to decide on the specific dates and times you will spend together. You should provide directions and guidelines for appropriate dress, as well as discuss housing arrangements (if applicable). Student contact information will be on the resume that is emailed to you by the Office of Career Services. This initial contact is also a time for the student to give you an indication of what he or she is interested in observing and gaining from the experience.

How structured should this experience be?

This depends on the host and the student. Because the students are also responsible for making this externship successful, they should clearly communicate their interests and expectations to you. All hosts should have a planned itinerary in place a month prior to the externship and provide the student with a written copy.

How does the extern handle transportation and housing?

Many students choose externships close to home, so housing is not an issue. Other students, however, are more than willing to travel for an externship in their career area of interest. In these situations, some hosts provide housing. If that is not possible, students typically obtain housing in a nearby hotel. Any housing and transportation costs are covered by the student; however, the Alumni Association does provide funds to help offset such costs.

What are my rights and responsibilities?

You have the right not to answer any questions or requests you feel are inappropriate or confidential. You also have the right to address, with the student, any behavior that is unacceptable in your workplace.

You have the responsibility to spend time with the student, or arrange for the student to meet with someone else or work on a project throughout most of the day. We ask that you minimize idle time as best you can. It is not your responsibility to guess what will be most interesting to the student. The student should share with you his/her specific areas of interest to help in your planning. The student has also been instructed on appropriate workplace etiquette and has been advised to perform research on your employer prior to the externship.

What if I need to cancel my externship?

If some unforeseen event occurs that requires you to cancel your externship, notify your student immediately. Please also contact Career Services as soon as possible. Hopefully, you and the student are able to reschedule the externship for a mutually convenient time.

How can I provide feedback on the externship program?

You can contact Melissa Schultz at any time with comments or questions. A formal evaluation will be emailed in late January to solicit your opinions on the experience. These evaluations are used in the overall program assessment. We strive to make this program a positive experience for all students and hosts involved.

What happens after the externship is completed?

It is our sincere hope that the externship experience is a positive one for you. Some hosts and students stay connected for months or even years after the externship. If the experience is a positive one, your student may inquire about the potential for internships or full-time jobs in your organization. We have seen many externships blossom into long-term opportunities, although that is certainly not a requirement of the program.

In what other ways can I volunteer for Career Services?

If you enjoyed spending time helping a Lafayette student explore careers, Career Services provides many other opportunities to volunteer with us.

Who can I contact with questions?

Contact Melissa Schultz in Career Services at schultma@lafayette.edu or 610-330-5115 with any questions about the program.

Register to be an extern host today!

If you have any questions, contact Career Services

Melissa Schultz

201 Hogg Hall
Easton, PA 18042
Monday-Friday 8:45 a.m. - 5 p.m.