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FAQ's: Externship Program for Sponsors

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What is an externship?

An externship is a chance for Cal undergraduates to shadow Cal alumni to gain valuable exposure to career fields of interest. By sharing expertise and knowledge about work and careers with UC Berkeley students, you serve as a coach for externs with their career development and help them to appreciate your organization and how it operates. The students can also provide limited assistance with projects or tasks. The program connects you with current Cal students and also exposes you to possible future employees or interns.

When and how long are the externships?

The externships take place during the UC Berkeley January Winter Break period. Each sponsor may choose the length of the externship, anytime from one day to two weeks. See Important Dates.

How do I apply?

You must be a UC Berkeley alum to participate in the Externship Program. The application process is entirely online. The first step is to set up your Sponsor account.

Where are externships offered?

Externships are offered in a wide range of professions primarily in the San Francisco Bay, Los Angeles, New York, and Washington, DC areas. Other regions, including abroad, are also of interest to Cal students.

What would be my responsibilities as a sponsor?

You are responsible for introducing the extern to the various facets of your profession, showing them what a typical day at your job consists of, and answering questions about your career field and work environment.

How should the externship be structured?

This depends somewhat on your field and the demands of your job. Ultimately, it is up to you and the student on how structured you would like the externship to be.

In some professions, e.g. medicine or journalism, having the student observe a typical day at work provides a great deal of insight. If the student will be with you for several days, a small project, in which the student gathers or analyzes information, may be helpful. It also may be helpful to arrange informational interviews with colleagues to give the extern a larger perspective.

There will be further information on structuring externships in the Sponsor Guide you'll receive after being assigned a student.

What do the externs do?

While shadowing you, students will primarily be observing your day-to-day activities to help them gain a familiarity with their career of interest. The students may provide very limited assistance, where appropriate, with projects or tasks to help acquaint them with the organization.

Am I expected to pay students for the externship?

Students do not receive any pay for the externship.

Externship Stipend Fund - Your contribution to the Externship Program Stipend Fund will help support the participation of economically disadvantaged students who otherwise would not have access to the program. Please contact the Externship Program office to learn more.

Am I responsible for providing housing/transportation?

Students are responsible for their own expenses and for arranging their own housing and transportation.

Can I host more than one extern?


How are students selected?

The program is designed primarily for freshmen and sophomores, who submit to our office a resume and interest statement for their top choice of externships. The Externship Program staff matches candidates and externship opportunities, and makes assignments to sponsors by early December. In mid-December, you'll be contacted by the student(s) placed with you to confirm the schedule for the January assignment. See Important Dates.

Will my personal information be posted in the externships listing?

Your personal information will be kept confidential. Online postings will only contain information about the externship offered.