Become a career catalyst.

Become an externship site host for University of Virginia students who want to expand their network and learn from an industry expert.

The Career IDEAs Externship Program aims to connect students with meaningful externship opportunities in J-Term and during the Summer months (time commitment is just 3-7 days). Students apply to the program via Handshake and are matched to an externship site that will help them explore the industry of their choice. The program is open to all students, but priority will be given to those who have not had an externship or internship experience. 2nd and 3rd years who are first-generation college students and/ or part of under-represented populations that do not have internship or externship experience are strongly encouraged to apply. Please note that students wish to extern in a variety of industries and metro areas: you do not need to be based in or around Charlottesville, VA to participate.

The University of Virginia’s Career IDEAs Externship Program was created in partnership with UVA IDEA Fund, which promotes initiatives that ensure the values of inclusion, diversity, equity, and access permeate UVA’s community and culture. 

What is an externship?

An externship is a short term, unpaid, 3-7 day, career exploration opportunity for students hosted by an employer. It allows students to gain some exposure to a new career field. It can be the gateway to a new professional experience, and it can also allow you to gain introductory knowledge or skill about a particular industry or job function. Students are responsible for arranging and paying for their own travel, housing, and meals. Scholarships are available to help students to cover these costs.

How can an extern help you?

  • Allows you to back to the UVA community
  • Increases your organization’s cachet with diverse populations
  • Identifies potential talent early

How do you help our externs?

  • Increase their confidence and social capital
  • Enhance their knowledge of self and develop their skills
  • Broaden their professional and personal worldview

Your Role as the Extern Host

Alumni and employers are asked to host a UVA student at their place of work during either the January Term (Winter 2018: Monday, January, 3rd to Friday, January 12th), or during the Summer months (Summer 2018: Monday, May 28th to Friday, August 24 th.)  Externships only last 3-7 days, and you can determine what time is better for your team.  The UVA alum is encouraged to help the student engage in professional development activities, provide opportunities for shadowing and informational interviews, and provide short-term projects where applicable.  The Career Center can help Externship Hosts craft a fulfilling and rewarding experience for Externs.

Expectations for Externship Hosts

  • Provide a substantive 3-7 day experience at your place of business.
  • Provide an outline of learning objectives or potential projects for the extern.
  • Identify a point person who will assist the Extern in achieving those learning objectives
  • Provide a safe and healthy work environment in keeping with the Fair Labor Standards Act.
  • Provide the extern with an appropriate space in which work can be completed successfully.
  • Adequately orient the student to the professional environment and outline relevant company culture, policies and procedures
  • Complete all aspects of evaluation, both of the program and of the extern
  • Communicate with the Career Center about any emergencies, or issues that might arise during the externship

Student Expectations 

  • Abide by the rules and guidelines of your organization
  • Communicate promptly and reliably with the Externship Host
  • Notify the UVA Career Center and the Externship Host of any changes
  • Communicate promptly and reliably with the UVA Career Center
  • Conduct themselves in a professional manner
    • Wear appropriate attire
    • Arrive to work punctually
  • Arrange their own travel, transportation and lodging for the duration of the externship*
  • Participate in pre-externship orientation, post externship workshops
  • Complete all assignments both from Externship Hosts and from the Career Center
  • Complete all evaluations and assignments from the Career Center
  • Students do not receive academic credit or compensation for the externship
  • Student and Hosts both will be expected to provide and receive feedback from each other as well as about the program.

* All students that apply to the Career IDEAs Externship Program have the opportunity to apply for externship scholarships that will help cover externship travel cost and incidentals.  Funds are provided by the UVA IDEA Fund in partnership with the UVA Career Center.  

Potential Activities for Externs

Each extern host and host site will differ in how they choose to orient students to the kind of work that they do.  The following list of potential activities is, by no means, exhaustive, but meant to illustrate the kinds of activities that help promote learning and understanding for students. You are free to design the externship experience that you feel best allows a student to gain an in depth understanding.  It is advisable, however, to balance task oriented activities with exploration oriented activities to provide a rich experience for the student.

  • Provide short readings, articles, blogs that provide insight into industry to provide a basic understanding of the work done
  • Give a tour of the office/work space and introduce the Extern to potential team members
  • Explain/ provide a basic understanding of the mission, values, and hierarchy of the organization
  • Provide an understanding of how organization sits within industry
  • Explain your role in the organization, and talk about your career path.  Choices and decisions made while you were college age, options you considered, potential trajectory of career etc.
  • Discuss and recommend ways that students can start building critical skills in the industry
  • Set up a time for the extern to conduct informational interviews with entry level, mid management, and senior leadership in various practice areas
  • Review typical day and deliverables, decisions, and responsibilities of your role
  • Outline/ explain specific project(s) that Externs will be responsible for

Post-Externship Evaluation Process

We ask that all extern hosts complete a post-externship evaluation. This short survey that will be emailed to you within the week of the externship. This is a crucial part of the process, as mentees thrive on professional feedback.  

Frequently Asked Questions

Are externships paid?

No, hosts are not required to pay their externs.  According to the Fair Labor and Standards act, the externship experience fulfills the 6 federal legal criteria that exempt the student from pay.

  1. The training, even though it includes actual operation of the facilities of the employer, is similar to what would be given in a vocational school or academic educational instruction;
  2. The training is for the benefit of the trainees;
  3. The trainees do not displace regular employees, but work under their close observation;
  4. The employer that provides the training derives no immediate advantage from the activities of the trainees, and on occasion the employer’s operations may actually be impeded;
  5. The trainees are not necessarily entitled to a job at the conclusion of the training period; and
  6. The employer and the trainees understand that the trainees are not entitled to wages for the time spent in training.

Do I need to host for the full seven days? 

No. We ask that you accommodate the students for at least 3 days.  Beyond that, scheduling is at the host's discretion.  We just ask that students receive a substantive experience, that allows them see the full picture of your workplace.

Am I responsible for travel, housing and incidentals for the student? 

No. Students are asked to arrange their own travel, lodgind and incidentals.  The program has funding available for students who require additional financial support for travel and lodging. 

Do students receive credit for their externship?

No. Students not receive academic credit for this program. 

Will I be able to choose my extern?

Yes. Once the application deadline has passed, you will be sent a packet of resumes and applications of students interested in your externship. We ask employers to select candidates and alternates that they fell will match best with the experience they are able to provide. 

How do I start?

If you would like to talk to the externship team about hosting, fill out the Externship Host Interest Form here.

If you have already been in touch with the externship team fill out the Externship Host Registration Form here


Please contact us at, or at 434- 924-8915.