The Application Process


The Application Process

Working at EXPLO is an incredibly fulfilling and demanding job. Our Faculty Recruitment Team works hard to find candidates who will not only contribute significantly to their EXPLO program, but who will also value the opportunity to experience substantial professional development and growth throughout the summer.

The EXPLO application process occurs through a series of four steps, as outlined below, that allows us to get to know you and discern whether we have a position that matches well with your skills and experiences.

Step One: Initial Inquiry

All applicants begin by submitting an initial application. The EXPLO Faculty Recruitment Team reviews initial applications and, based on position availability and applicant qualifications, invites selected candidates to submit a Personality Showcase.

Step Two: Personality Showcase

Applicants will be invited to tell EXPLO about themselves in a short video. The Personality Showcase should be an authentic and enthusiastic representation of the applicant.

Step Three: The Interview

Upon reviewing the Personality Showcase, the Faculty Recruitment Team invites selected applicants to interview for positions at one or more programs; these interviews are usually conducted via phone or video conferencing and last approximately 30 minutes.

Step Four: Final Steps

Following the interview, selected applicants are asked to submit three references; once all references have been checked, candidates are notified of a final hiring decision.

The EXPLO Interview

The interview is our chance to get to know you — as well as your chance to get a one-on-one feel for EXPLO. We want to talk to you about your interests, hear what you’d like to create and accomplish at our programs, and answer any questions you might have. Here are some tips to help you prepare for your interview:

Be Prepared

Review all pages of our hiring website, particularly the Program Comparison, Available Positions, and this application process outline. Have an idea of the types of positions you are interested in, which age groups you are most compatible with, and at which program(s) you would like to work. Prepare a list of questions, if you have any. If you’re interested in teaching at EXPLO, it’s a good idea to contemplate some ideas of possible lessons, activities, and class projects you might like to lead.

Before the interview, be sure to test your phone or internet connection, including sound and video capabilities. At the time of your interview, ensure that you are in a quiet space without any visual distractions.

Be Honest, Be Reflective

Our interviews often are more like friendly, professional conversations. We’re looking for candidates who can assess their strengths and weaknesses thoughtfully and accurately. As you prepare for your interview, consider how you will succeed at EXPLO, and how you might need support during your time with us.

Be Ready to Tell Us About Yourself

What kinds of things are you passionate about? What hobbies do you have? What kinds of things make your heart sing, and what kinds of things drive you crazy? We want to learn more about you to help us determine whether you are a good match for a position at EXPLO, and whether EXPLO is a good match for you.

Applying to EXPLO: Common Questions

How will I be contacted regarding my application?

All correspondence regarding your application is sent via email. It is important that you regularly check your inbox (and spam folder) for important updates. Untimely communication on your part could result in your application being rejected.

Are all staff members required to work the full 7 weeks, or is it possible to work for just one session?

At the Wheaton (Grades 4-7) and Sarah Lawrence (Grades 8-10) programs, all staff members are required to work the full 7 weeks of the EXPLO summer. (This includes one week of staff orientation, and two 3-week sessions with our students.) At the Pre-College + Career (Grades 10-12) program, the majority of staff members are required to work the full 7 weeks as well. There are also 2-week and 4-week Lead Instructor positions available, depending on our final summer line-up of Concentration offerings.

Who should I ask to be a reference?

We ask that you submit professional references—such as teachers, professors, job or volunteer supervisors—who can speak to your potential to thrive as an EXPLO staff member. If you’ve had limited work experience, we will also accept references from mentors, advisors, or religious leaders. Examples of references we would not accept include personal references such as parents, friends, or peers.

Why was I asked to interview for my second- or third-choice program?

In the initial application, you will indicate which program(s) you are most interested in working with. While the Faculty Recruitment Team will note your preferences when reviewing your application, there may not be a position available at your first-choice program that matches your skills and experiences. In that case, you may be asked to interview for your second- or third-choice program. For example, you might indicate that EXPLO at Wheaton (Grades 4-7) is your first-choice program, but you may find yourself being interviewed by your third-choice program if they have a greater need for the positions to which you’ve applied, or if EXPLO at Wheaton (Grades 4-7) doesn’t have any available positions that match your interests and abilities.

How much detail should I include in the qualifications listed on my initial application?

We need enough detail to understand the scope and context of your qualifications; however, we don’t need an exhaustive description of any single experience. For example, if you’re writing about your qualifications for the AV Coordinator role, you should describe any past AV work experience, including the specific responsibilities you carried out that would prepare you to serve as an EXPLO AV Coordinator. Often, one or two well-written paragraphs is enough to adequately describe your qualifications for a given position or interest.

Why was I asked to complete a second interview?

After completing an initial interview with one of our three programs (EXPLO at Wheaton (Grades 4-7), EXPLO at Sarah Lawrence (Grades 8-10), or EXPLO Pre-College + Career (Grades 10-12)), you may be asked to conduct a second interview with another member of the Faculty Recruitment Team. This is either to expand on the conversation from the initial interview, or to discuss an alternate position at another EXPLO program. For example, you may interview first with EXPLO Pre-College + Career (Grades 10-12), and then with EXPLO at Sarah Lawrence (Grades 8-10). Second interviews are usually 15-20 minutes and are designed to focus on a set of questions that are more specific than those in the initial interview.

Do you sponsor visas for international staff members who are hired to work at EXPLO?

While EXPLO does not directly sponsor visas, there are a couple of options for international staff members to obtain work authorization for summer employment in the United States. International staff members enrolled in a college or university in the United States are strongly encouraged to seek sponsorship through their school by applying for CPT or OPT; this is usually the quickest and most affordable option. International staff members who are not enrolled in a college or university in the United States will be connected with a partner organization, who guides each staff member through the full J-1 visa application process.

When will I receive a final decision?

Applicants are either accepted, rejected, or placed on a waitlist. While an applicant may be rejected or placed on a waitlist at any stage in the application process, successful candidates typically complete all four stages of the EXPLO application before receiving a job offer. If an applicant reaches the interview stage, they will typically receive a final hiring decision within 2-3 weeks after their interview. (Please note that exceptions to this timeline do occur; when this is the case, the Faculty Recruitment Team will inform the applicant of when they can expect to receive a final hiring decision.)

If I am hired to teach a course and/or elective, will I need to write my own curriculum?

For EXPLO at Wheaton (Grades 4-7), EXPLO at Sarah Lawrence (Grades 8-10): All of our courses and electives are professionally written by full-time EXPLO staff members. If you are hired to teach a course and/or elective, we will provide you with a complete set of lesson plans, outlining the activities for the course/elective, materials needed for each activity, etc. You will have a chance to familiarize yourself with the lesson plans—and even make some adaptations, in consultation with a curriculum coach—during our Preseason Curriculum Coaching process in the spring.

For EXPLO Pre-College + Career (Grades 10-12): The nature of our concentration programs necessitates that our curriculum is developed and delivered by professionals with expertise in their field. If you are hired as a lead instructor, you will be provided with curricular content such as a program description, project frameworks, or even a partial or complete set of existing curriculum. You’ll work in consultation with our year-round Curriculum development team and/or other Lead Instructors on further developing the curriculum preparation for the start of the program. Teaching fellows will be responsible for familiarizing themselves with the curriculum. They may be required to deliver portions of the lesson plans and develop individual activities or lessons as needed, in coordination with the lead instructor and our curriculum development team.

How are EXPLO instructors trained to teach their courses and/or electives?

In the spring, all EXPLO instructors participate in our Preseason Curriculum Coaching (PCC) process. The purpose of this training is to provide an opportunity for instructors to become familiar with EXPLO’s teaching style, in addition to the lesson plans specific to their course and/or elective. Each instructor is paired with a Preseason Curriculum Coach who guides them throughout the training process. Participating in PCC provides a wonderful chance to prepare course logistics, become familiar with course content, reflect on teaching style and strategy, and build excitement for a great summer of teaching!