Virtual Opportunity FAQs

This page covers common questions from alumni who are interested in offering virtual opportunities for students.  

If you still have questions, please feel free to contact us at Andria Mirabal '08, senior associate director, alumni engagement and experiential learning, at amirabal@princeton.edu.

While students are not encouraged to pursue internships during the academic year as they are expected to prioritize academics and campus involvement, some students are able to balance the demands of a virtual experience and are looking for professional development opportunities. If you are hosting a virtual opportunity during the academic year, please be mindful of the number of hours a student must commit to completing the experience. 

What types of opportunities are students looking for?

Students are looking for ways to build skills, learn about career fields and grow their networks. Opportunities can range from full-time, virtual internships offered by an organization/employer to projects that can be done in a few hours or days. Students may be seeking a short-term project during the academic year and fall and spring breaks, or longer internships during the summer or winter break.

How is an alumni-sponsored opportunity or project different from an internship or job?

Alumni-sponsored opportunities (sometimes known as micro-internships) take place during academic breaks. They emphasize mentorship and feedback, and include engagement by alumni in students' professional development. Projects include skill-building and educating students about a specific field and/or industry. The student should be reporting directly to the alum or in frequent contact with the alum throughout the experience.

Alumni should also be open to offer advice and guidance on topics such as academics, life and after college. Projects can be remote or in-person (as long as in-person is permitted in your specific area), but we recommend remote when possible.

Please let us know if your organization has full-time positions or internships open to students. We would be happy to help you post positions to Handshake, our recruiting system.

How do I post an opportunity?

You can post an opportunity by emailing amirabal@princeton.edu. We are available to answer any questions and help you identify the best ways for you to connect with students.

Is there a specific schedule or timeline that I should adhere to for a project or internship?

We understand that every opportunity will be unique. Regardless of the experience you offer, try to articulate clear expectations in order to best position everyone for success. For example, if you have a full-time virtual internship to offer, perhaps you need the intern to plan to work 40 hours per week and be available 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST for eight weeks. 

If you have a short-term project, think about how long you would expect it to take. For instance, you may have an expectation that the project could be done in 10 hours within a one-week timespan, including an hour of feedback and mentoring.

Are these opportunities for undergraduate students, graduate students or both?

We welcome opportunities for all of our students, from first-year undergraduates through advanced graduate students. Should you feel strongly that your opportunity is suited for a particular class year or range of class years, you may indicate so when submitting details about it. 

Should the opportunity be paid? Is it OK to offer unpaid opportunities?

Pay is an important consideration for some students who rely on wages from a part-time job. If your organization is able to pay a student for a virtual internship or project, that would be very helpful. However, pay is not required; students are also eager for connections, experience and skill-building, even if not paid. 

If you are not able to pay, it is important to be clear about what students will learn from the experience. Please keep in mind that nonprofit organizations are often unable to pay interns, and classify interns as volunteers. For-profit organizations need to be cognizant of federal regulations under the Fair Labor Standards Act. Guidance on unpaid internships can be found at the U.S. Department of Labor’s website.

Are international students eligible to participate?

International students may have restrictions on the types of opportunities they are able to accept depending on their visa status. We advise all international students to consult with the Davis International Center before embarking on an experiential opportunity.

How should I select a student for the opportunity?

There is no standardized selection process for these opportunities because the skills and experience needed to complete each project or internship will vary. To assess candidates, you can ask for a cover letter and/or resume, or simply request to speak with the student via phone or video chat to learn more about their interest in the position. We encourage you to be explicit about how you’d like students to express interest to enable you to get the information you need to make the most informed decision.

What if I’ve been contacted by enough students for my project or internship and don’t want any more students to reach out?

If you receive more than enough interest in your opportunity and/or fill your position, email us at amirabal@princeton.edu and we will remove the position. We are also asking students to notify us when they’ve secured an opportunity so we can modify listings or remove postings that are no longer accepting applicants.

What if a student backs out after accepting the opportunity?

Students are expected to be communicative and keep alumni informed should they be unable to fulfill their commitment to an opportunity.

We appreciate the opportunity you are providing for students and want to ensure they are respectful of your time. We value alumni being co-educators to students as students learn to navigate the professional world and encourage alumni to provide direct feedback to students. Please email us at amirabal@princeton.edu if you experience any challenges or if there are any ways we can help students grow and develop their skills.

Where can I find some tips for starting a virtual internship?

We created a guide for alumni and employers to help establish and run virtual internship programs. 

What if I don’t hear from any students?

We don’t know how many students will be seeking opportunities, so we cannot guarantee that every opportunity will be filled. Our goal is to assemble a range of learning experiences and internships and make them available as soon as possible. Whether or not you hear from students, please know that they see your gracious act of offering an opportunity, and that action in of itself, is meaningful.