Extern Program: Tips for Mentors

Tips for Workplace Mentors

You can arrange many activities for an extern. Here are some example schedules from past mentors. Possible activities for your extern include:

  • Attend meetings or lunches with you and your colleagues
  • Complete a short research project
  • Provide background information on your career and organization to your extern.
  • Spend time with your colleagues both in your organization and, if appropriate, at other similar organizations.
  • Share an extern with another Swarthmore alumnus/a or colleague in the same field. 
  • Sightseeing for a student visiting your city for the first time is also appropriate and often appreciated. 
  • Remember: an externship is an educational, job shadowing experience thus students aren't paid.

Tips for Homestay Mentors

Being a homestay mentor is an incredibly helpful way that you can contribute to the Extern Program. We understand that many alumni and parents are interested in participating in the Extern Program, but do not work in environments conducive to being workplace mentors.

What should you expect? Extern students typically arrive at their homestay on the Sunday afternoon preceding Extern Week and depart the following Friday or Saturday after their externship is complete. Alumni and parents are encouraged to choose to host students in the ways that work best for their lifestyles. 

  • Discuss meal preferences. Many homestay mentors provide food and meals for their extern student, but if you expect the extern to pitch in money for food or to assist with making of meals, be clear about that.
  • Take time to discuss food allergies you or your extern may have.
  • Compare schedules so that you know what hours you each will be coming and going.
  • Clear communication about expectations in your home is key!

Past to Present. This is a great way to re-connect and keep up with what's going on at the college