CIPE revamps website, looks to consolidate

Students still hoping to plan their summer activities have the Center for International and Professional Experience’s newly revamped website at their disposal.

As student demand for summer fellowships has increased in recent years, CIPE restructured its fellowships website last summer to help students better navigate the fellowship application process before seeking individual attention from the center’s overworked advisers. The center also has plans to revamp the entire Web domain next year to better integrate its different services, including study abroad, career planning, summer study and funding opportunities.

“We’re trying to give students an even stronger start [to the application process], and equip them with the tools to think carefully and intentionally about these opportunities,” said April Ruiz ’05, assistant director of Yale College fellowships. “We want them to move forward as much as they can [using the resources on our website] before coming to us with advanced, personalized questions.”

Director of Fellowship Programs Kelly McLaughlin said that while the previous website primarily allowed students to view and apply to fellowships, the revised website focuses on helping students choose an appropriate fellowship and on advising students how to go about the application process. He said the new strategy helps students take ownership of planning their summers and gauge the requirements for the application process.

Since the changes to the website were made, Ruiz said fewer students have scheduled appointments with CIPE advisers requesting information about available fellowships and the application process. Instead, students have sought advising on how to refine their summer plans in the context of their past experience and future goals.

Over the next year, McLaughlin said CIPE will also revamp all the websites under its domain to continue the trend of streamlining the advising process and better linking its services. In the past, McLaughlin added, CIPE’s services have each operated independently, but the office is gradually improving communication between its different functions.

“There are lots of places where we overlap and can build synergy. We may be replicating efforts across the CIPE where we could be streamlined.” McLaughlin said. “We’re very aware that many of the summer opportunities are in website ‘silos.’”

Eight of 10 students interviewed said they feel the fellowships application process this year was effective and straightforward, though none of them noticed that significant changes were made to the website. Nine students also said they do not have specific suggestions to improve the website.

“I found everything I needed,” Kia Quinlan ’16 said. “The website was super helpful.”

CIPE was launched in August 2011.

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