Career Confidence is Key

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L&S program helps students build experience, connections, and confidence.

It’s the most common question college students face: “What’s your major?”

For many, the answer is, “I don’t know yet” — much to the dismay of curious parents. But even for students who do know — the ones who have known since that first day of elementary school that they want to spend four years studying Chekhov — a major doesn’t necessarily mean they have their entire career plan mapped out.

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The College of Letters & Science (L&S) is there to help. Last fall L&S launched the Letters & Science Career Initiative (LSCI), funded by alumni. The program was designed to give second-year and transfer students the necessary skills to jumpstart their careers after graduation.

There are currently two main sections of LSCI: Inter-L&S 210 and Career Kickstart. Inter-L&S 210 is a one-credit course, rolled out at the start of 2015. Students alternate weekly between attending lectures by Professor Greg Downey and gaining hands-on, practical experience in “lab” sessions. At the end of the semester, each student will have compiled an ePortfolio documenting his or her personal journey throughout the course.

“One thing we’re trying to do is give students a scheme, a language, and a set of tools for talking about what they’ve done in the past, what they want to do in the future, what they think they can bring to an organization — and to be able to really communicate that,” says Downey, the associate dean of L&S who helped create the course.

The second component of the LSCI, Career Kickstart, is a residential program that will launch in fall 2015. Based in Ogg Hall, the program will offer on-site advising, resume and interview workshops, and special access to employers and alumni. There will also be a specialized section of Inter-L&S 210 for Ogg Hall residents.

According to Jon Cleveland, assistant director of career education, building confidence is a key part of the Career Kickstart program. “Students are going to walk away from the year in Ogg feeling more confident about where they’re headed professionally,” he says. “They’re going to be confident they have the skills to secure an internship and a job.”

Published in the Summer 2015 issue

Tags: career, Letters & Science, Student life

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