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If I am already enrolled in the Northwestern Network Mentorship Program, will my profile automatically populate?

Yes, basic alumni and student profile information will populate, though there is also additional information that will need to be completed specific to the NEXT program.

How do I also register for the Northwestern Network Mentorship Program?

Alumni and students can register for the program and complete a profile by visiting the main program website.

How do I register for the NEXT program?

NEXT registration is simple and convenient, as the process is coordinated with the Mentorship Program:

Alumni

  • If you have already created a mentorship profile you may log-in and register the externship opportunity within the NEXT space.
  • If you do not currently have a mentorship profile, please create a NEXT profile and then post the externship opportunity. Please note we need to approve all accounts, which typically occurs within 1-2 business days.
  • If you registered for last year's NEXT, your information is still in the system. Please note that you will still need to log-in to access, review, and register the externship for this year's program.

Students

  • If you have already created a mentorship profile you may log-in and begin applying for externships within the NEXT space once registration opens.
  • If you do not currently have a mentorship profile, please create a NEXT profile and then you may begin the NEXT application process once registration opens. Please note we need to approve all accounts before you can begin applying, which typically occurs within 1-2 business days.

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Students

What is an externship?

The NEXT program provides students with an opportunity to see firsthand what it is like to be a professional in a career they are interested in pursuing. Students spend time observing and often working with employers in order to gain insight into the practical aspects of their potential future careers. Please note: only current Northwestern students may participate in NEXT.

Why should I participate in the externship program?

An externship is a great way to learn about the day-to-day work life of a professional in a prospective career field. The externship program offers you the chance to "test" a career without risk of a long-term commitment. It can also help you get your foot in the door for a competitive internship program or job.

Will housing, transportation, or meals be provided?

No, students are responsible for all of the above. Please keep cost in mind when considering where to apply for externships.

What do student externs do?

It depends on the host and their field of work. You may take a tour, conduct informational interviews with people in various specializations and at different levels in the organization, review company literature, sit in on meetings, ask questions about the field, organization, training, and education necessary to enter the field, and/or assist with office projects (e.g., research, report writing).

How many externships can I do?

You may participate in only one externship per academic year.

How long is an externship?

It will last one day and typically is completed between March and May. However, you may choose another date outside this time frame if it works best for you and your host or student.

Will I get paid for externship work?

No, the externship is an unpaid position, and you will not receive academic credit.

Where do I find a list of externship hosts and how do I apply?

Register for NEXT online. Student registration opens in November or December each year. Search for an externship host by company, location, and/or professional fields. To apply, submit a personal statement and upload your resume (in PDF format) for each externship opportunity to which you apply. Please note that your name and contact information must be removed from your resume.

If I apply, am I guaranteed an externship?

Although externship assignments are not guaranteed, all degree-seeking Northwestern students are encouraged to apply. Externship assignments depend on the availability of the host that you have chosen and their ranking of your essay and resume (rankings are determined by what the host believes to be the best fit). Only apply to externships in which you are interested and able to complete. Pay attention to the externship location and read the externship description carefully. By applying for an externship, you are committing to complete that specific externship should you be matched with that host. It is strongly discouraged to cancel your participation once you have been matched with a host.

What happens after I apply?

After your application has been submitted online, the host will be notified that applications are ready to be reviewed. NEXT hosts will rank all student applicants based on who they feel is most likely to benefit from the externship experience. If we match you with a host, we will notify you and your host in January. It is your responsibility to contact your host to set a date for your externship.

Should I consider the alumni host to be a potential employer?

Keep in mind that the NEXT program is not about getting a job or internship out of your experience. You may, however, inquire about internship opportunities the organization may offer. If your alumni host asks for your resume and/or inquires about your internship or job plans after graduation, feel free to share such information.

What happens if I am not matched?

If you are not matched with an externship host, there are still many opportunities for you to learn from alumni. Visit our Networking and Mentoring website to learn more about NAA and NCA programming. Create a profile in the Northwestern Network Mentorship Program to search for alumni mentors who can help advise you as you search for a job and advance in your career. In addition, please visit Northwestern Career Advancement for information on student resources, events, and career opportunities.

How can I increase my chances of being matched?

Apply to a wide range of opportunities. The more externships to which you apply, the greater your chances of being matched. Make sure to consider a variety of companies. In addition, include a thoughtful essay on why you're interested in each specific externship. Even if you are undecided and using the experience to determine if you have an interest in their career or company, discuss what sparked your interest.

If I have concerns about the program or my matched alumni host, what should I do?

Please contact Eleni Vartelas, the Northwestern Career Advancement staff liaison, at next.student@northwestern.edu or 847-491-3700.

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Alumni

What should I expect from a student extern?

Expect the student to arrive on time, be dressed appropriately, and be ready to spend the day learning, observing, and asking questions. Since the program is designed to provide students exposure to a field, it is unlikely that the student will have relevant job experience. Keep in mind that the student extern is not a “temp” and therefore should not be assigned to only clerical tasks throughout the day.

What do externs do?

It depends on the host and their field of work. You may lead a tour, organize informational interviews with people in various specializations and at different levels in your organization, provide company literature, have the extern sit in on meetings, and learn about the field, organization, training, and education necessary to enter the field. Externs may also assist with office projects (e.g., research, report writing).

Am I expected to reimburse the students in any way?

No, the externship is an unpaid position. Students are expected to make their own housing and travel arrangements and do not receive academic credit.

If I volunteer, am I guaranteed a student?

Because many factors go into selection and matching, pairing with a student is not guaranteed. If you are not matched with a student extern, there are still many valuable ways for you to offer career guidance to current Northwestern students. Create a profile with the Northwestern Network Mentorship Program and register as a mentor or visit our Networking and Mentoring website to learn more about NAA and NCA programming.

What is the process for matching?

Your externship opportunity will be available for students to view online beginning in December students will have the opportunity to apply for individual externships. You will be contacted when the student application process is completed. You will be able to view all of your applications and rank each student who applied to your externship. Once all rankings are submitted, we will run matches and contact alumni and students to notify them whether they have been matched. Students will be responsible for contacting alumni to set a date for the event.

Must I consider the student to be a potential employee?

No. NEXT is not about hiring students for a job or internship. However, if you are impressed with the student(s), you may inquire about their interest in any available positions at your organization. If you wish, you may keep in contact with the student(s) after the externship is over.