Tag: career success

Career advising adjusts on the fly as students face an economy in distress

Story by Ed Berthiaume / Communications

Career advisors and other staff in Lawrence University’s Center of Career, Life, and Community Engagement (CLC) have doubled down on personal connections as the COVID-19 pandemic has kept students at a physical distance and economies near and far have faltered amid the global lockdown.

The CLC already had significantly ramped up its Life After Lawrence initiatives over the past year, including launching Career Communities and Viking Connect, both aimed at better connecting students with career advising and opportunities of interest while facilitating conversations between students and alumni.

But the job market has suddenly shifted, as has the processes for seeking jobs, internships, and other opportunities. Students are understandably nervous about an economy in distress, with factors at play that no one has seen before.

From daily networking webinars, to funding for remote internships, to new access to Harvard Business School courses online, the CLC advisors and other staff members are adjusting on the fly to keep students in the loop, tapping into every possible resource that’s available.

More information on the Center for Career, Life, and Community Engagement can be found here.

For Michelle Cheney, an assistant director of the CLC who has been working daily with students who are feeling the angst that comes with so much uncertainty, it’s a time for calming words and the sharing of every bit of helpful information she and her colleagues can get their hands on.

“Even with a range of emotions being shared, I have been deeply impressed that many of our students have approached their life after Lawrence plans in a truly Lawrence way,” Cheney said. “They are reaching out for support from the LU community near and far, embracing ambiguity, asking thoughtful questions around economic impact, remaining open and flexible to new industries and roles, and leveraging their care and concern for their community to see where they can have a positive impact. The world of work is changing dramatically, and how our students are responding to self-design, redesign, and finding new experiences speaks volumes to the skills they have learned at Lawrence.”

 Mike O’Connor, the Riaz Waraich Dean of the CLC, said his staff is recruiting alumni to share job and internship opportunities, piloting new career content on a daily basis, and “coaching students to pivot quickly.” Viking Connect has been at the center of much of that. The online platform was launched in January to better connect students with alumni employed in fields of interest. It has seen an uptick in use in the seven weeks since COVID-19 was declared a pandemic, and now has 507 alumni and 337 students signed up.

“We put a pitch out on Viking Connect for alums to share job, internship, and short-term projects with us, which has been yielding some great job and internship opportunities, distance and otherwise,” O’Connor said.

Lawrence also has expanded its pilot program with Harvard Business School’s CORe (Credentials of Readiness) program, which offers Lawrence students the opportunity to take online Harvard Business School courses at a reduced rate. The online courses cover business analytics, economics for managers, and accounting. Lawrence is currently fully funding four students through the Lawrence Scholars in Business fund, and it has now started marketing the program more broadly as Harvard has cut the cost significantly in the wake of COVID.

In addition, new third-party partnerships have been initiated with vendors specializing in micro and distance internships, O’Connor said. These are paid, short-term, project-based opportunities with a variety of employers across the country.

And the CLC is adjusting internship funding to better support students doing remote work.

“Our plan is to allocate a significant portion of our $150,000 in annual experiential learning funds toward short-term, project-based, remote research, internships, and broader experiential learning opportunities,” O’Connor said. “We’re still thinking through the format, structure, reflective components, and how to easily leverage our employer and alumni partners, but we’ll be moving forward with new offerings in the weeks to come.”

A chance to talk

Daily webinars are being offered to help students get information and advice, from CLC staff as well as employers the university has forged partnerships with.

Gary Vaughan, Lawrence’s coordinator of the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Program and a lecturer of economics, collaborated on an online student session with The Commons, a Milwaukee-based employment initiative that seeks to develop and assist young business talent. It drew 41 participants.

A support group through Viking Connect, focused on COVID-19-related job and career issues, has been formed, giving students and alumni additional opportunities to connect.

And the Viking Athletics Advisory Council has worked with the CLC to accelerate career connections between current and former Lawrence athletes. They recently built a series of Zoom calls, dubbed #LUVikes4Life Lunches, via Viking Connect. Nearly two dozen LU athletes have already dialed in to talk with former LU athletes, said Andrew Borresen ’15, assistant director of athletics giving.

“The Lawrence education, the transformative learning that begins on campus as a student, does not stop at graduation,” he said, noting how enthusiastic alumni have been to help in this crisis. “It is only the beginning. … These calls are evidence of our culture — once someone dons the blue and white, they become a member of the Viking family for life and enter an altruistic cycle of support that spans generations.”

It’s all part of a full-on blitz to make sure Lawrence students aren’t feeling stranded as they explore career paths and navigate in these suddenly chaotic economic waters.

“We’re not changing our lofty or ambitious goals for Life After Lawrence, but we’re evolving our tactics quickly,” O’Connor said. “We’re pushing hard on every front; leaning on our alums to share opportunities and intel, pushing opportunities and content out aggressively, partnering in new spaces.”

It’s all hands on deck, from the CLC and other staff to faculty and alumni, all focused on helping students through a quagmire no one could have envisioned when the academic year began seven months ago.

“We’ve taken advantage of our virtual resources to connect with more students on social media, do more direct outreach, and check in often with the students we’re working with,” Cheney said. “My message to students has been, be positive, patient, and persistent, and reminding them we are here for them through this journey.”

Ed Berthiaume is director of public information at Lawrence University. Email: ed.c.berthiaume@lawrence.edu

Career Communities launched to better connect students with fields of interest

Lawrence students participate in last year's edition of "The Pitch."
Whether participating in “The Pitch” (here in 2018) or connecting with alumni in your field of interest or applying for internships, Career Communities will provide connections for Lawrence students.

Story by Ed Berthiaume / Communications

Finding internships and other career opportunities, connecting with alumni in fields of interest and being part of conversations with others on similar career paths just got easier for Lawrence University students.

New Career Communities — an online resource guide divided into eight groupings of related fields or potential career interests — are being publicly rolled out to Lawrence University students as the spring term begins.

The Center for Career, Life, and Community Engagement (CLC) has been prepping the Career Communities in recent weeks in anticipation of the spring rollout, part of a heightened effort focused on making sure all Lawrence students are job-market ready when they graduate and are connected to valuable resources as they prepare for life after Lawrence.

“For the first time, we’ve pulled all the resources the university has that support a particular career area and put them all online in a very easy-to-use fashion,” said Anne Jones, interim dean of the CLC.

Does a liberal arts education prepare you for today’s job market? Mellon Foundation report says yes.

The Career Communities are not tied to a particular major. Instead, they’re set up in broader career industry teams. The eight communities include:

Career Communities came out of recommendations from the recent Life After Lawrence study. Staff in the CLC then worked with faculty to develop the eight Career Communities based on job market trends and student interests.

“It’s not meant to be, ‘I’m an English major, what can I do with an English major?’” Jones said. “It’s meant to be more, ‘I’m interested in the area of health care, what does Lawrence have going on or what can they connect me to that will help me validate whether that’s the right career for me or help me get some experience? If I am interested, what can I do to help get myself to be more competitive in the job market or in the graduate school application process?’”

In addition to being a resource for the students, the Career Communities should provide better guidance for faculty, coaches and staff as they work with students on career possibilities, Jones said.

Among the points of interest that are a click away in each of the communities are references to popular jobs in that field, internships, alumni contacts, research and volunteer experiences, student organizations, funding opportunities, upcoming events and links to relevant courses or other academic information.

Students do not have to stick to just one of the Career Communities. Exploration is part of the process.

“We hope students will explore multiple communities that align with their interests, goals and post-graduation plans,” Jones said.

Lawrence named one of the country’s top “Colleges That Pay You Back”

The Princeton Review has named Lawrence University one of the nation’s best colleges for students seeking an exceptional education with great career preparation and at an affordable price.

Princeton-Review_bang-for-Buck_newsblogLawrence was included in the education services company’s 2016 edition of its just released book “Colleges That Pay You Back: The 200 Schools That Give You the Best Bang for Your Tuition Buck.”

Lawrence and UW-Madison were the only two Wisconsin institutions to be included in the book.

The Princeton Review selected the schools based on return on investment (ROI) ratings it tallied for 650 schools last year. The ratings weighted 40 data points that covered everything from academics, cost, and financial aid to graduation rates, student debt, and alumni salaries and job satisfaction.

Lawrence also was included on the book’s sublist of the top 25 Best Schools for Making an Impact, which was based on student ratings and responses to survey questions covering community service opportunities, student government, sustainability efforts and on-campus student engagement.Princeton-Review-Book_newsblog

“One of the things we like about this particular ranking is its heavy emphasis on assessing the return on investment families make,” said Ken Anselment, Lawrence’s dean of admissions and financial aid, “Our student and alumni success shines a bright light on the great things that happen at Lawrence.”

In its profile of Lawrence, The Princeton Review editors cited the college for its “rigorous academic experience” and for extolling “the values of a liberal education as a means by which to build character, think critically, and create opportunities for choice.”

Students surveyed for the book described Lawrence as “a very close-knit community” and Appleton as “a great little town with a lot of good restaurants, bars and cafes.”

In the “Career Information” section of the profile, Lawrence earned an exceptional ROI rating score of 89, with median starting salaries for graduates of $36,400 and median mid-career salaries of $89,500.

Princeton-ReviewBang-for-Buck_newsblog2Schools included in the book “stand out not only for their outstanding academics, but also for their affordability via comparatively low sticker prices and/or generous financial aid to students with need or both” according to Robert Franek, lead author and The Princeton Review’s Senior VP/Publisher.

“Students at these colleges also have access to extraordinary career services programs from their freshman year on, plus a lifetime of alumni connections and post-grad support,” said Franek.

Of the 200 schools profiled in the book, 66 are public and 134 are private. There were also nine tuition-free schools included.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College” and Fiske’s Guide to Colleges 2016. Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.