UCS hires peer advisors

New student liaisons assigned from Undergraduate Career Services to all 12 residential colleges are looking for ways to establish their presence in the undergraduate community.

After a February survey from the Yale College Council showed that students wanted easier access to UCS services, the YCC looked to expand the UCS peer advisor program, which previously hired liaisons for only about half of the residential colleges. Although nearly all students interviewed said they were still unfamiliar with details of the program, Allyson Moore, director of Undergraduate Career Services, said the peer advisors will hold workshops this semester to reach out to students.

“The peers within the colleges are in the best position to know their fellow students,” Moore said. “We at UCS are really excited about the program and hope that it will increase student accessibility to our resources.”

USC staff led training sessions at the beginning of the semester for the student advisors about the UCS resources, pointers for interviews and best practices for writing effective cover letters and resumes.

Moore said the program will make UCS resources more accessible by saving students the long walk to the UCS office at 55 Whitney Avenue and by providing counseling sessions after the UCS’s normal business hours. The peer advisers will now be available for “evening office hours” in their assigned residential colleges several times each week. In the coming weeks, the advisers will hold study breaks and introduce workshops on networking, searching for jobs and developing applications, she said, adding that they may also host career panels with alumni from the college.

Jonathan Setiabrata ’13 and Ryan Arnold ’13, the peer advisers for Davenport and Pierson Colleges, said several students from all years have already contacted them for advice. Arnold said the program is especially useful because advisers generally hold office hours in the evening, when students have time to research jobs online and write applications. He said that because of the program’s informal nature, students can come down to the Pierson seminar room in their pajamas as they seek advice for applying to prestigious consulting firms.

“The UCS peer advisors represent a broad range of academic interests and summer experiences, so together we can help almost all of the students that come to us,” Arnold said, adding that the advisors refer students who pose broad questions about their career paths to professionals in the UCS office.

Students do not have to reside in the college where the hours are being held to take advantage of these services, Moore said.

The liaisons also serve as members of the UCS Residential College Advisory Board, which formed last semester and includes select UCS staff, YCC members and deans and masters from several colleges.

“The board will meet monthly to ensure that students’ advising needs are being met,” Moore said. “This will give us the opportunity to register student feedback and brainstorm new ideas.”

YCC President Brandon Levin ’13 said program’s use by students has grown “exponentially” since February, though he said he did not have the exact numbers for how many students have contacted UCS Peer Advisors this year.

But nine of 10 students interviewed said they did not know any specifics about the program, and most said they were unsure whether they would visit the peer advisors.

David Mandelbaum ’15 said he has not considered meeting with the advisors so early in the semester because he is not currently looking for a job. But Zachary Bell ’14 said he had not even heard of the new program, and he said the peer advisors should better inform the student body when they are available and how they plan to work with students.

“[The program is] clearly not well publicized if few people know the actual details about it,” said Zachary Bell ’14. “Besides, I don’t think I would use it when I have other resources like my parents and professors to go to — people who know me.”

All current peer advisors are either juniors or seniors.

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