July 9, 2013

Many colleges offering more help with career prep

Schools have revamped career centers, expanded internship programs and pushed alumni to serve as mentors to help graduates better transition to the working world.

The Associated Press

(Continued from page 1)

click image to enlarge

Student Salma Akhter, right, takes part in a career advising session with Kathleen Babb, senior student development adviser in Franklin & Marshall College's Office of Student and Post-Graduate Development, in Lancaster, Pa. The school has launched life skills workshops for students, revamped career services and increased on-campus recruiting.

Photo provided by Franklin & Marshall College

click image to enlarge

Lindsey Pollak, an official ambassador for LinkedIn, consultant and author, speaks to students and alumni in a life skills workshop about leveraging social media for professional success at Franklin & Marshall in Lancaster, Pa.

Photo provided by Franklin & Marshall

Co-ops can also pave the way for permanent employment, Nyul says: "Ninety percent of our graduates are employed full-time and 87 percent are doing something related to what they majored in."

While Northeastern's co-op model is a century old, many other schools proudly point to career prep programs they've created since the recession began at the end of 2007.

—Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Pa., "totally revamped" its career services this past year, according to Beth Throne, who heads the school's new Office of Student and Post-Graduate Development, with life skills workshops on public speaking, social media, etiquette and even the art of the business meal; job-search boot camp for seniors and recent grads; and more on-campus recruiting. The school also created a database of alumni and willing parents in various fields, and students are aggressively matched to opportunities, resulting "in increased rates of employment."

—At Washington College in Chestertown, Md., a "first-year career awareness" program opened for freshmen in 2009; a new externship program was launched this year; and a Wall Street program began in 2011 to connect students with alumni and others working in financial services.

—At Otterbein University, in Westerville, Ohio, "5 Cardinal Experiences" was launched three years ago to connect students with internships, research and other opportunities. This fall, a job shadow program will match students with local alumni.

—At Davidson College in Davidson, N.C., the Davidson Internship Challenge began three years ago, asking alumni to help students find and secure internships; it surpassed its goal of 100 internships in its first year by 17.

—McDaniel College in Westminster, Md., started its Center for Experience and Opportunity in 2012 to "help prepare students for life after college," according to spokeswoman Cheryl Knauer, by helping them find internships, volunteering and service projects.

—York College of Pennsylvania in 2009 opened the Center for Professional Excellence, where, according to a video shown on tours, students can learn everything from social skills to public speaking.

Many colleges also now offer funding for unpaid internships so that students of limited means can afford to take them. And career-building is now a topic in freshmen seminars.

"Gone are the days when a second-semester senior can come into a career center for career assistance and expect to find a job immediately," said Kathy Williams, director of Gettysburg College's Center for Career Development in Gettsyburg, Pa., which encourages students to take externships and do job shadowing in freshman and sophomore year.

Even schools that train students for specialized industries are stepping up their game. Haemoon Oh, who joined the Hospitality and Tourism Management department at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst in 2008, used its alumni network to create a program in which students could meet industry leaders. When hotel CEOs in New York and Boston were reluctant to travel to the campus in western Massachusetts, Oh told them, "I'll bring my students to you if you sponsor the trip.' The concept was embraced by their corporate headquarters."

But Oh's goals were broader than just connecting students to potential employers. "If our kids can have an opportunity to interact with a chairman or CEO or industry icon in an informal setting, and ask whatever they want, that's a worthwhile experience," he said. "I wanted to inspire students and give them hope and ambition, especially in a time of recession."

(Continued on page 3)

Were you interviewed for this story? If so, please fill out our accuracy form

Send question/comment to the editors

Further Discussion

Here at PressHerald.com we value our readers and are committed to growing our community by encouraging you to add to the discussion. To ensure conscientious dialogue we have implemented a strict no-bullying policy. To participate, you must follow our Terms of Use.

Questions about the article? Add them below and we’ll try to answer them or do a follow-up post as soon as we can. Technical problems? Email them to us with an exact description of the problem. Make sure to include:
  • Type of computer or mobile device your are using
  • Exact operating system and browser you are viewing the site on (TIP: You can easily determine your operating system here.)