Discovery Days


Discovery Days are experiences at workplaces that can help students determine whether a job or industry is compatible with their 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 the spring semester. Participating in Discovery Days can be a great way to explore an occupation and assess a student’s 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 are eligible to participate in Discovery Days in spring 2020.


Interested students will need to submit a brief application through Handshake by searching for ‘Discovery Day’ through the Jobs tab. Participating sites for Spring 2020 Discovery Days will be available in Handshake in late January or early February (details will be outlined in emails sent to the Career Services listservs). You may apply to as many opportunities as you want, but you will be required to submit a separate one paragraph statement of interest for each host site.


Applications will be processed on a rolling basis and 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 spring 2020 Discovery Days is January 19, 2020 at 11:55pm.


Spring semester 2020, preferably over Spring Break. The employer’s preferred time frame will be listed in each posting.


The list of Discovery Days sites for spring 2020 will be available in Handshake early in December and early January. Students will be notified by email.


All applications to the program must be submitted through Handshake. Search for “Discovery Day” under the Jobs keyword search to see a list of available opportunities. Keep in mind you are responsible for travel expenses to each city so we encourage you to apply to opportunities


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

A Discovery Day is a career exploration experience that provides students 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

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 locations  that will minimize any travel, meal or lodging costs.

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 identify several Discovery Day sites in your application that are of interest in order 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. Discovery Day opportunities will be posted in Handshake and the specific location will be highlighted there.

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 will be selected by the employer and the student(s). Since Discovery Days are usually partial day, one day or two-day experiences, students are expected to work with the employer to select a date that is mutually convenient for both parties. We do ask students to be flexible for ease of scheduling. Students are required to participate in any Discovery Day they are matched with and agree to pursue.

Who can I contact for questions about the program?

Email Anne Dickinson, Associate Director – College of Arts and Sciences Team, or  Jingy Yen, Associate Director – Wharton Undergrad Team, with any questions about the program.