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The Career Development Center Summer Experience Grant assists undergraduate students in financing unpaid/underpaid summer experiences that are related to their career interests. The CDC Summer Experience Grant is open to all undergraduate students, except graduating seniors.

Individual award amounts are determined on a case-by-case basis. Grants are given for all types of summer experiences that are career focused, ranging from the corporate world to non-profit; in the U.S. and abroad. If you are funded, you are expected to participate in the experience you described, and for the length of time identified, in your application. If that experience should fall through or be cut short you must contact the CDC as soon as possible to inform us of the change and return the pro-rated grant funds to the University.

Applications Open: March 16, 2020

Application Deadline: May 8, 2020


You must be an undergraduate student who will be participating in an unpaid or underpaid (less than $11/hour) experience and will still be an enrolled undergraduate student at WPI upon completing their summer experience to qualify. Additionally, experiences must meet the following criteria to be considered for the grant:

  • Must be external from WPI
  • At least 8 weeks long
  • A minimum of 20 hours per week
  • Related to career development/exploration

Quick Tips:

  1. You should only describe one opportunity in your application.

Selection Criteria

Applications are located in the Experiences section of Handshake. Once you have filled out the experience report for the grant, you must then upload all other materials into the experience.

Application Materials:
  1. Application
  2. Essay responses (PDF)
  3. Detailed budget (PDF)
  4. A position description
  5. An offer letter or equivalent from the employer/organization (must include start and end date, hours/week, and pay rate/unpaid)
Applications will be evaluated on the basis of:
  1. Quality and clarity of application
  2. Feasibility of the outlined budget
  3. The opportunity presented to enhance the WPI educational experience, to gain new skills, to test or broaden areas of career interest
  4. Preference will be given to experiences that are 30 hours or more per week for 8-12 weeks.

Receiving the Grant

If your application is selected, you will receive grant funds by direct deposit only in May/June and will be required to fill out the following forms:

  • W-9 (This form is required for an individual to provide their taxpayer identification number to entities that will pay them income during the tax year)


  • W-8BEN (This form is required for foreign individuals to document their foreign status for any income they receive from the U.S.)
  • Foreign National Form (This form is required for a foreign national, a person who is not a citizen of the host country (USA) in which they are residing)

How to Develop a Great Application


A feasible budget is an important piece of your application and should not only include the numbers you have budgeted for expenses, but a detailed explanation of how you arrived at these numbers.

Quick Tips:
  1. Fill in as much of the Explanation section as needed. If utilities are included in rent, tell us that. If you need health or car insurance during the summer, you should include these items. 
  2. Ask friends or family what they normally spend per person on food each week.
  3. Double check your travel expenses. For example, if you are going to a remote village in Ghana, you should include all travel to get there — plane, taxi, bus, etc. If you are going to be working in a city, be sure to include travel from home or WPI to get there initially (and the return trip) as well as subway expenses. 
  4. If you do not fill out a major category like Food or Travel, please explain why you do not need funds in that area.
  5. Provide any supporting documents that you have.
  6. Double check to make sure your numbers add up correctly!
Application Written Statements

Your written statements and essays must be compelling to persuade the Committee to fund your experience. Be thoughtful and detailed in your responses, taking care to answer the questions as asked. We do expect good, grammatically correct writing free of spelling errors!


This is the most important section of the application. The Committee wants to know why this experience is important to you. Some of the best essays generally take a “past, present, and future” approach in answering both questions. In other words, tell us what in the past has inspired you to explore this career (courses, experiences, exploratory searches, events, or past internships) and how it relates to your academic studies. Then explain why this experience is a good next step for you in your exploration and/or career development. Explain what impact this experience will have on your future goals and give us a sense of what those goals are.

End of Experience

You will be required to give a presentation, approved by the CDC, on your experience upon returning to campus.