Explore Majors & Careers


Exploring different job functions or industries? Want to know more about a specific organization? The Owl Edge Externship Program is an excellent way for current students to learn from, and connect with, members of the Rice community.

Spring Break 2024 externships are now live on 12Twenty. Apply before January 29th at 11:59 pm.

Read the full list of externships available for the Spring here.

Upcoming Dates

Student Application Deadline 10/23/2023 01/29/2024
Notify Selected Students Week of 11/1/2023 Week of 2/6/2024
Mandatory Program Orientation Online Online
Complete Program Evaluation Online Online
**Please note that students are responsible for any travel expenses**

Why participate?

The Owl Edge Externship program offers short-term in-person and virtual job shadowing experiences that provide you with an opportunity to connect with Rice alumni, parents, and friends to explore career options and gain a realistic perspective of an industry.

Benefits of participating in an externship include:

  • Explore an industry, organization, and/or job function(s)
  • Prepare for your internship or job search
  • Build your professional network
  • Gain a “behind the scenes” look before committing to a longer-term opportunity
  • Assess fit with a particular career field and clarify next steps

Externships generally highlight a “typical” workday, but shadowing takes on various formats. Activities might include:

  • Full or half day of shadowing*
  • Tour of the facility
  • Informational interviews
  • Attend staff meetings or other company events
  • Observe client/customer interactions
  • Assist with a small project or general office tasks
  • Visit with the HR Department and/or recruiters
  • Review marketing materials about the organization
  • Meet with Rice alumni and/or individuals about their job responsibilities

Sound interesting? See the deadlines for winter and spring break timelines below.

FAQs About the Owl Edge Externship Program

What is the difference between an internship and an externship?

An externship is a short-term job shadowing opportunity (typically half day up to five days if in person or an hour or two virtually), while internships last for extended periods. Unlike most internships, externships do not offer pay or academic credit.

How long will my externship last?

The externship host determines the length of an externship but will typically be one-half day to three days (or a shorter duration if virtual). Some hosts will meet with students multiple times in the semester (typically in spring), but that is not the expectation.

Is housing/transportation provided?

No. You are responsible for any travel expenses (unless otherwise noted in a specific externship description). Please note that campus housing is not available during Winter Break. There may be limited travel funding available for a small number of students - instructions will be included in each posting, if available.

Where are externships?

Since this program’s inception (in 2015), approximately 75% of externships have been offered throughout Texas (when in person). That means opportunities do exist across the country (and even internationally). We encourage students to think about where they will be during the break and explore opportunities near that city (since students are responsible for travel expenses). Or, if students have friends and/or family in a different city, look for an opportunity there. Multiple virtual options allow students to connect from anywhere with stable wifi.

Who is eligible to apply?

While the program is geared towards Freshmen and Sophomores, all class levels may apply. Priority goes to underclassmen. Students from all majors are encouraged to participate. We also allow students still exploring career paths to participate multiple times throughout their academic experience.

How do I apply?

Apply for Owl Edge Externship in 12twenty (starting in October for Winter Break experiences and in January for Spring Break experiences). Click Jobs and Search "Owl Edge Externships" - you can refine your search by career cluster labels or location. You will need a resume and a paragraph of interest (per application). Apply to as many externships as you find exciting but note, if matched, you are expected to participate. While not guaranteed, we try to match students to one externship (even if they apply to multiple).

How will I prepare for my externship?

Students must participate in a mandatory online program orientation once matched to an opportunity. Prior and new externs will also complete various short assignments to prepare (focusing on goals and crafting questions to ask the host).

What types of organizations typically participate?

Opportunities exist, historically, in each of the seven career clusters. We encourage you to explore the areas in which you are interested – no experience necessary (in fact, the less experience in an industry, the better)!

Don’t see something you are interested in (or didn’t get matched)?

Keep an open mind about opportunities and consider postings that might not be an exact match for what you’re looking for but might capture your interest. While the CCD team members try to make the best possible matches based on indicated application preferences and an algorithm to promote fairness, submitting your application does not guarantee a match with an Owl Edge host. If unmatched, the CCD will help facilitate a connection outside the program when possible. If you can’t find an externship of interest, contact an alum and create your own externship/job shadowing experience. The Sallyportal and LinkedIn are great places to start. We are happy to help you craft outreach communication to make this happen.


  • "I hoped that this externship would give me more knowledge about how to further my career, and it did. I came out of the externship with increased excitement and interest in my writing career and my English/Creative Writing major at Rice."
  • "The architecture externship was particularly interesting to me as it was with a non-profit firm. Learning about non-profit architecture firms really helped me develop more of a direction with my architectural interests."
  • "My host was absolutely fantastic and connected me with about 10 other people in HR, all of whom I had a chance to talk to in the past week. I think I initially thought of HR as just an "office job" where there was little flexibility or opportunity for growth, but this externship proved me wrong on both counts."
  • "The most significant thing I learned from this experience is that getting a job right out of college may not be a straight path from choosing your major to getting hired; your major doesn't have to exactly coincide with your job, you just have to show the skills."
  • “The Owl Edge Externship was a great experience. It opened my eyes to the work environment. I met a lot of people and now have a better understanding of what goes on inside a corporation.”