UCS must diversify counseling, resources

In this space last spring, our predecessors critically assessed the internship and job search assistance provided by Undergraduate Career Services, which has made some of the farthest strides of any department at Yale in past years. Since then, we believe UCS has continued to radically improve in the areas where it was already solid, but still offers comparably minimal assistance to students uninterested in financial work. As UCS becomes more overworked with each passing year, we ask that directors consider incorporating additional campus talents to better diversify the department’s services.

Certainly, UCS-sponsored “Bulldogs” programs have become a major focus. The expansion of such programs across the globe — to almost everywhere students have suggested, it seems, with the possible exception of Baghdad — are a credit to the University’s stated goal of offering every Yalie the opportunity to study abroad. And the ever-increasing range of networking databases, as well as a bevy of basic resume, cover letter and interview walkthroughs, suggest the machinery of UCS online resources, at least, is working.

That said, the range of use for the machine is in some ways more limited than ever. UCS rests primarily on the fringe of the Yale campus, despite office hours that directors have nominally scheduled in a handful of residential colleges. And beyond the Bulldogs programs, assistance provided by the department still focuses on financial fields that cannot begin to encompass the wide range of student interests at Yale. Contacts from the banking and consulting industries are plentiful, but with a few notable exceptions, speakers and career fairs that cater to other interests are extremely limited. And students who arrive at UCS still unsure about their career options are likely to find little solace during their half-hour meetings with overbooked career counselors.

This is a shame, particularly as Bulldogs programs truly are beginning to diversify UCS options in Hollywood, Tokyo and elsewhere. But with UCS consistently understaffed — appointments during February, the height of the internship search, were full by the beginning of the month — we believe the department could do a much better job educating students about available opportunities simply by making better use of existing Yale resources.

Many students interested in academics, the arts or nonprofit work already pursue advice from experts in those fields during the application process, but UCS can streamline such efforts. Some of Yale’s brightest talents have demonstrated a willingness to chat with students in the “Take Your Professor to Dinner” program, and we see no reason why UCS could not pilot a similar initiative focused on internship or job searches. Larger University investment in UCS itself is also clearly necessary, however; as the fledgling Yale Journalism Initiative suggested, a wider range of specialized career counselors would be a tremendous boon.

With the help of the faculty and the bevy of campus organizations that have already evolved to meet student needs, we believe UCS can begin to truly serve as a centralized authority for internship and job hunting at Yale. We hope the department and the University take steps to ensure that all students believe so, whatever their interests.

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