Cornell University

Program Logistics

The purpose of the Alumni Connections Program (ACP) is to facilitate student-alumni connections so students can explore a career field of interest. This approach allows students to feel free to ask questions about topics they could not ask about during a formal interview.

ACP is NOT a placement program where students submit an application and are screened/placed in specific opportunities by our staff.

Sponsor-student connection process

The Alumni Connections Program is open year-round. Students and sponsors, once connected, will need to work together to establish mutually convenient times to arrange their job shadow or informational interviewing opportunity. We have included breaks throughout the school year on the program home page in addition to the Sponsor Registration page.

Students are able to self-select sponsors they would like to connect with based on a sponsor's career path, affiliation, or industry the student would like to learn more about. Our goal, based on student feedback, is to encourage more organic relationships between students and their sponsors.

Upon registering, sponsors are able to identify how many students they are willing to meet with throughout the academic year and how they are willing to meet with those students (job shadow, informational interview, or lunch meeting). Upon filling the available slots, that sponsor's listing will be marked as "unavailable" for the remainder of the year.

Please keep in mind that many students who are participating in this program are not yet clear on what particular fields they are interested in and this program is meant to encourage exploration.

Types of Opportunities

Information Interview via Phone or Skype: This allows the student to interview the sponsor regarding their academic and career background, career path decisions, organization, work culture, and job responsibilities.

Lunch Interview: Students coordinate with sponsors who will host a lunch meeting to offer the same type of discussion opportunity as outlined in the information interview above.

Worksite Shadowing Visit: Depending on the sponsor's organization policies and time availability, these shadowing visits should consist of a one-two day exposure to allow the students to take a tour of the organization, attend meetings and appointments with the sponsor, and/or meet with other professionals in the organization based on their career interests. Longer shadowing visits lasting up to two weeks to complete a small career-related project are also an option.

If your work setting is not conducive to hosting students who do not have a well-developed sense of professionalism or specifically focused interests/questions, we encourage you to offer an informational interview or lunch meeting outside of your work place. Even brief interaction with alumni or professionals in a student's area of interest can provide them with a wealth of information to help them weigh career and academic decisions.

Additional information

Expenses: Students are responsible for all expenses related to the job shadow, including airfare/travel, taxis, hotel, meals, background check, medical testing, etc. Students cannot receive academic credit from Cornell for this experience, nor pay from you as the sponsor.

Cancellation Policy: We realize that extenuating circumstances do arise for sponsors, but we ask that if this occurs, please contact your student directly to see if an alternative arrangement (visit at another time, shortened visit with another colleague, information interview over the phone instead of an office visit, etc.) can be worked out as quickly as possible.

Limited Liability Insurance: Cornell does not provide liability insurance for all participants in the Alumni Connections Program. However, a limited liability policy is purchased for students connected with sponsors offering shadowing (1 day or longer) at a medical facility.

Worksite Required Forms or Materials: If your organization has liability provisions for visitors or volunteers along with any other forms or materials students will be required to submit ahead of the visiting period, please be sure to make this clear in your listing. Please indicate if students will need to sign any liability, confidentiality or other forms that are standard for interns or other short-term visitors to your organization.

Hold Harmless Agreement: All students who participate the Alumni Connections Program sign a document called Student Release Indemnification and Hold Harmless Agreement. This agreement is designed to inform and protect all participants in the Cornell Alumni Connections Program: the student, sponsor, organization, and Cornell University. If you wish to receive a copy of the more in-depth Hold Harmless form that each student signs, we would be happy to send it to you.