From Classroom to Career: Questions and Answers with Paige Crandall, Dean of Student Affairs
From Classroom to Career: Q&A with Paige Crandall, Dean of Student Affairs
What is the role of Career Counseling at Sarah Lawrence?
At Sarah Lawrence, we believe that learning happens in the classroom and beyond. Career Counseling contributes to part of that "external" learning experience, by offering a student-centered approach that assists students as they translate their SLC academic experience into career goals and ultimately communicate such goals to potential employers.
What might surprise students most about Career Counseling services?
While many students know of the micro work that is done in the office (i.e. resume writing, practice interviewing questions, handling letters of recommendation), many students are excited to learn about the more macro issues that are tackled in a one-on-one consultation. Questions such as: "What work environment will help me thrive?" "What internships will fuel my academic and career interests?" "Where do I want to live after graduation?" And, of course, "How do I fund an artistic career?"
What resources are available to first-year students?
The College encourages that students wait until their sophomore year to start internships so they have time to acclimate themselves to the SLC culture and academic demands, but other than that, everything is available to first-years. This year, we’ve seen a rise in visits from first-years, a trend we hope will continue. They are invited to career exploration programs, employer site visits, anything that piques their interest. The best place to start is to schedule an appointment at Career Counseling with one of our two counselors, Angela Cherubini and Anne Marie Damiani, and begin their first resume, a piece of paper they will use and expand upon their entire four years.
How can a student schedule an appointment?
It’s easy. Career Counseling is located in Bates Building on the second floor. Students are welcome to schedule an appointment with someone at the front desk, or contact the office by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (914) 395-2566. Appointments are available Monday-Friday. The office also offers walk-in hours every week on Wednesdays and Thursdays from 1:30 – 3:30 p.m. Students and families are always welcome to visit the OCC Web site to learn about the office's services.
When should my student start thinking about internships?
Although we encourage students wait until their sophomore year to do an internship, it’s never too early to start considering different options. Through an online database, students have access to internships both locally and nationally.
How can my student best juggle their academic curriculum and career planning?
There is no one perfect answer; all students are different. There are some students who do as many as four or five internships during their time at Sarah Lawrence, and there are some that do one their senior year, and get involved in leadership positions on-campus, community service, and other experiences that help build their skills and resume. No one path is better than the other.
Students who want to receive academic credit for an internship can apply for what’s called Fieldwork, through the Dean of Studies Office. Fieldwork requires a faculty sponsor, as well as a final project. If the Fieldwork proposal is accepted, an internship can replace a class in a student’s regular schedule. Roughly thirty students every semester do Fieldwork.
How do you guide a student with varied career interests?
Recently, Career Counseling invited author Margaret Lobenstine to speak about her book, The Renaissance Soul: Life Design for People with Too Many Passions to Pick Just One. Does this sound like your student?
The career counseling approach at Sarah Lawrence is different because the school’s academic pedigree is different. We understand that our students come to Sarah Lawrence for academic freedom and they want the same freedom when it comes to thinking about their careers.
Career Counseling has also set-up an account for each student at Sarah Lawrence on CareerLink (SLC’s internal internship database), which prompts students to fill out a “Career Interests” profile. Students can choose as many industries as interests them: from publishing to business, to nonprofits to law and many more. This way, when the office has an industry-specific event or an internship of interest, they can email the students who’ve tagged that industry. It’s a way to communicate multiple opportunities to students with multiple interests. You never know which opportunity is going to speak to which student.
How are SLC alumni involved in the OCC?
Many alumni offer to come to campus and talk about their own career path, which is an invaluable resource to students. Some of the other ways alumni are involved include hosting employer site visits at their current place of business, participating in our mentoring program, listing internships with the office, and speaking on career panels.
What are the challenges facing SLC students post-graduation? How should a senior prepare?
Although we are coming out of a recession—and seniors may face a more difficult job search—we’ve seen recent alumni succeed in the same climate. The ones who visit the Office of Career Counseling often are the ones that are coming back to us and letting us know they’ve landed jobs at NBC, Doctors Without Borders, and Folio Literary Agency, to name a few. The industries that have been hit hard—such as publishing and nonprofits—are the ones our students are most commonly interested in, so those students have to come in early and really work with the counselors.
Paige Crandall, Dean of Student Affairs, can be reached at (914) 395-2575.