CAPS visits by first years double

According to CAPS director Meredith Daw, recent classes of admitted students are more career-oriented.

By Benjamin Pokross

It’s no surprise that fourth-years without jobs lined up are starting to get anxious, but they’re not the only ones: First-years are already hungry for employment.

Reaching an all-time high, 435 first-years scheduled appointments with Career Advising and Planning Services (CAPS) this fall, a 68-percent increase in first-time visits over last year, according to Assistant Director of Strategic Programming and Outreach Shannon Delaney.

According to CAPS director Meredith Daw, recent classes of admitted students are more career-oriented. “Students are coming in with a stronger sense of what they want to do after graduation and what they can do while they’re here,” she said.

The numbers suggest that first-years aren’t making just one appointment, either. According to Delaney, there was a 95-percent increase in the number of total contacts that CAPS had with first-years during the period from July 1 to January 27.

Daw also credits the increase in attendance to greater enthusiasm among first-years. “There’s a change in the excitement level about how they can use the services,” she said.

According to Daw, the admissions department is informing first-years more fully about CAPS offerings so that they enter the University knowing more about the “Chicago Careers In” programs and the Metcalf Fellows Program.

In response to the surge in interest, advisers at CAPS are spending more face time with students. According to Daw, walk-in hours have been extended this quarter and advisers are offering more scheduled appointment times.

The positive response to events like Venture to Adventure, where third-and fourth-years share their experiences with younger students, has prompted CAPS to consider new events for underclassmen to interact with older students and alumni.

By starting early, students are more prepared to look for and get internships and summer opportunities during their third and fourth years, according to Daw. “It’s changing our model, how we serve upperclassmen,” she said.

Daw hopes that the rise in first-year participation will continue. “Students who start in their first or second years are more likely to graduate with plans,” she said.

First-year Alessio Franco agreed that CAPS has a strong presence on campus, but it hasn’t been enough to motivate him. “I haven’t been to CAPS,” he says, “but I may go there in the future.”