EXPLORE FAQs | Programs | Institute for Educational Advancement


Q: What is EXPLORE?

The Externships Providing Leadership Opportunities in Research and Education (EXPLORE) Program matches advanced and gifted high school students with distinguished mentors, hands-on research opportunities, and professional experience in their field of interest. With the support and guidance of mentors and IEA staff, students learn about working in a variety of professional settings and advance their skills through the pursuit of knowledge and exposure to optimally challenging learning experiences. Each student not only grows intellectually and personally but is able to make pertinent and lasting connections with their mentors and like-minded peers.


Q: What is an externship?
An externship provides students a short-term opportunity, last anywhere from one day to a few weeks, to explore a career field of interest, acquire relevant job experience, and create professional connections by working with experts and professionals.


Q: Am I eligible to apply?

A: You are eligible to apply if you are:

  • A rising 10th, 11th or 12th grader
  • Under the age of 18 for the duration of the program
  • Highly motivated, high-achieving
  • Interested in pursuing an advanced topic through an in-depth course of study

Some sites require students to be of a minimum age or meet certain prerequisites; these requirements will be listed with the site description on the EXPLORE Sites + Mentors webpage.


Q: When are the program dates and deadline for EXPLORE 2019?

A: The Summer 2019 program dates are as follows:

  • Session I: Saturday, June 15 – Friday, July 5, 2019 (3 weeks)
  • Session II: Saturday, July 6 – Friday, July 26, 2019 (3 weeks)
  • Both Sessions: Saturday, June 15 – Friday, July 26, 2019 (6 weeks)
  • Session III: Saturday, July 20 – Friday, August 2, 2019 (2 weeks)

Program dates include a mandatory weekend Professional Development Orientation and culmination ceremony.

Application deadline Tuesday, April 9, 2019.


Q: How do I apply?

A: Complete and submit an EXPLORE program application no later than Monday, April 15, 2018. The online application will become available in mid-October 2018.


Q: What can I expect to do at my externship site?

A: During each session, Externs will work alongside their Mentor and/or Mentor’s team during the workday, Monday through Thursday for 5 to 8 hours per day.  Tasks, projects, and working hours will vary by site and is determined by the Mentor. You may spend some time shadowing your Mentors and assisting with pre-arranged projects, research and/or lab work.

Mentors are mindful of providing the most worthwhile experience that provides real-world training to educate Externs on their field of interest and expose them to the expertise of others in the field.


Q: What is the cost to participate in the program?

A: Program fees are as follows:

Session I: $975 (3 week session)

Session II: $975 (3 week session)

Both Session I & II: $1,950 (6 week session)

Session III: $850 (2 week session)

Program fees cover:

  • Weekly college and career workshops and excursions
  • Orientation Day and Culmination Ceremony
  • Matching mentee with a mentor
  • High-quality mentoring experience
  • Laboratory and/or materials fees
  • Direct support from IEA staff throughout the duration of the program
  • Personalized e-Portfolio upon successful completion of placement


Q: Are scholarships available?

A: Yes, scholarships and payment plans are available to students in need, and financial concerns should not discourage any student from applying. Please contact the Senior Program Coordinator, Niña Abonal, at Explore@educationaladvancement.org for more information.


Q: How are Externs matched to a mentor and externship site?

A: EXPLORE uses a portfolio-based application which requires an essays, a letter of recommendation, high school transcripts, standardized test scores, resume or brag sheet, and sample work to gauge your skills and interests. It is important you submit at least one piece you think would best represent your abilities and is relevant to your field of interest. Finalists are also required to go through a phone interview with an IEA staff member.


Q: When will applicants be notified of their acceptance and placement into the EXPLORE Program?

A: Applicants will be notified of their acceptance into the program and site placement via email by the end of April 2019.


Q: How likely is it that I will get into my preferred site?

A: All of our sites are highly competitive so we ask applicants to be intentional when deciding which sample work they wish to include with their comprehensive application. The more students demonstrate their ability towards their career field of choice, the better their chances of being placed at their preferred site. Additionally, students should be purposeful in ranking their top 3 career fields of interest as this information helps with the matching process.


Q: Do you have sites outside of California?

A: At the moment, we are only offering site placements in Southern California throughout the Greater Los Angeles area. However, we are working towards opening sites where the demand is strong.


Q: Is housing available?

A: IEA does not provide lodging for participants or their families for the duration of the program. Students must make their own housing arrangements prior to the start of the program.


Q: Is transportation provided?

A: IEA does not provide transportation for students. Students must provide their own transportation to and from their externship site, weekly workshops/excursions, orientation days, and final culmination ceremony.

If you are unfamiliar with the public transportation system, IEA staff would be happy to assist with  navigating and making recommendations for route options.


If you do not see an answer to your question here, please feel free to email us at Explore@educationaladvancement.org.

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