Discovery Days



Discovery Days are experiences at workplaces that can help you determine whether a job or industry is compatible with your skills, interests, abilities, and work values. Discovery Days are a great way to gain insight into a work environment of interest and develop professional connections - these opportunities tend to be one day in length. Career Services facilitates Discovery Days for College of Arts and Sciences and Wharton freshmen and sophomores during spring break in early March. Participating in Discovery Days can be a great way to explore an occupation and assess your level of interest. Discovery Days are designed to allow undergraduates to gain exposure to a Penn alum's or other employer's work environment.


College of Arts and Sciences and Wharton freshmen and sophomores (graduating in December 2019, May 2020, August 2020, December 2020, May 2021 and August 2021) are eligible to participate in Discovery Days in March 2018.


Interested students will need to submit a brief application through Handshake (details will be outlined in emails sent to the Career Services listservs).   Participating sites for May 2018 Discovery Days will be available in Handshake in February. 


All application materials will be reviewed after the application deadline has passed. Once applications have been read and processed, students will be matched with Discovery Day sites. Students who are assigned a Discovery Day placement will be expected to meet with a career advisor to review guidelines, confirm commitment to participate in the program, and contact the Discovery Days host to arrange for a mutually convenient time for your visit.*

*We will make every effort to place all interested students at Discovery Days sites, however, we cannot guarantee placement for all students. Since the primary purpose of the Discovery Days program is for career exploration, note that students who have relatively less exposure to the career field and who submit well thought out reasons for pursuing a Discovery Days placement are given preference. Geographic accessibility to sites may also be a factor in matching students with Discovery Days sites.


The application deadline for March 2018 is TBD.


March 2018 Discovery Days: March 5, 2018 - March 9, 2018


The list of Discovery Days sites for March 2018 will be available in Handshake during early Spring 2018.


All applications to the program must be submitted through Handshake and the online response form.


What is a Discovery Day? What are some examples of Discovery Day activities?

A Discovery Day is a career exploration experience that provides you with the opportunity to observe aspects of a "day in the life" of a professional in a career field of interest. Students who have participated in the past have been a part of some of the following activities:

  • Shadowing one or more professionals on the job for a day
  • Attending meetings and presentations
  • Touring the work site
  • Conducting informational interviews with professionals in various departments and/or at various levels
  • Participating in daily operations that will provide an extern with hands-on exposure to the career field/industry
  • Completing a relevant project if the Discovery Day is long enough to accommodate it

What are the benefits of participating in a Discovery Day?

  • Learning more about a job or occupation
  • Understanding what a particular job entails on a daily basis
  • Expanding your network of professional contacts
  • Experiencing the culture of an organization
  • Having your questions about a job or occupation answered by professionals in the field

How long are Discovery Day experiences?

Discovery Days range in length of time but are usually one day, although they could be a partial day or multiple days. Final decisions on the actual length of any Discovery Day are at the discretion of individual site hosts.

How are Discovery Day placements determined?

Discovery Day placement decisions are made by Career Services - not Discovery Day hosts! Decisions will be made based on application materials submitted and geographic factors. Be sure to apply for several Discovery Day sites of interest to increase the likelihood of placement in the program.

Where are Discovery Day placements located?

Discovery Day sites can be located in cities across the country and around the world, in any location students may be staying or visiting during the cycle.

Who serves as Discovery Day hosts?

Discovery Day hosts include Penn alumni and employers who recruit Penn students for employment opportunities.

Do I need to be available during the entire Discovery Day period to be eligible to participate in the program?

The dates for Discovery Days are during a window of time when classes are not in session. Since Discovery Days are usually partial day, one day or two-day experiences, you are not expected to be available every day during the Discovery Day cycle - unless a specific date (or dates) is listed for a Discovery Day opportunity. However, we do ask you to be flexible during that period of time for scheduling purposes. You are required to participate in any Discovery Day you are matched with and agree to pursue.

Who pays for Discovery Day expenses?

Any costs for Discovery Days are expected to be covered by the student participating in the program. Thus, be sure to select Discovery Day sites in locations that will minimize any travel, meal or lodging costs.

Who can I contact for questions about the program?

Email Anne Marie Gercke, Associate Director - College of Arts and Sciences Team, or  David Ross, Associate Director - Wharton Undergrad Team, with any questions about the program.

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