UCS brings office hours to colleges



For students looking for job advice without the trek to Whitney Avenue, a new peer advising program in three colleges may be the answer.

In an effort to make Yale Undergraduate Career Services more accessible to students, UCS is piloting a new program that makes peer advisors available each week in Berkeley, Davenport and Jonathan Edwards colleges. If the program is a success and the advisors in the residential colleges are in high demand, UCS will consider expanding the program across all 12 colleges, peer adviser Amsalu Dabela ’04 said. Peer advisers used to be available on Saturdays at UCS’ Whitney Avenue office, but few students came, UCS Director Philip Jones said.

Advisers offer resume critiques and tips for job interviews, and introduce students to the improved UCS Web site during informal walk-in meetings, Dabela said, similar to meeting with math or writing tutors.

“We are the first line of help for students, a sort of starting place,” Dabela said.

The meetings are designed to make post-Yale planning less daunting, Berkeley Dean George Levesque said.

“Thinking about life after Yale can be very scary,” he said. “Making career advising more accessible — can help ease those fears and encourage students to plan ahead.”

While peer advisers can look over resumes and offer help, Jones stressed that they cannot replace scheduled meetings with counselors.

Jones said a major reason for instituting the program is that students may be hesitant to walk to the UCS office at 55 Whitney Ave., where it moved from 1 Hillhouse Ave. in 2001.

“There was a perception that UCS had become a distant entity,” Jones said.

This latest program is part of an effort to make UCS feel closer, in addition other programs such as alumni panels and resume workshops, Jones said.

“In the past two years we’ve built a much stronger relationship with the deans,” Jones said. “I think this pilot program is a continuation of that process.”

Jones emphasized that the goal is for UCS to make the first move to bring students to UCS before they miss out on any opportunities.

Jones said peer advisers also help handle some of UCS’ caseload, which has risen in the last four years.

“When I got here four years ago, scheduling sessions were rare,” Jones said. “We had 2,000 my first year, and this year we estimate we will have over 5,000.”

There are currently 12 counselors, the most UCS has ever staffed, who offer 160 scheduled sessions and 200 walk in sessions a week. The number of peer advisors has also risen in the past few years — there are currently eight who work both in the residential colleges and at the UCS office.

While the program is only into its second week, there is much optimism.

Jonathan Edwards Dean John Mangan said there is already significant student interest in the program.

“The very first night we had a peer holding hours here in the college, students were signing up to meet her,” he said.

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