O-Issue 2012: Career advancement

By Colin Bradley

Because CAPS could not stop for Death, Death kindly stopped for CAPS. Though it is no longer with us, it behooves the cunning undergrad to not balk when hearing older students speaking of CAPS—that is, Career Advising and Planning Services. This summer, that moniker was nixed and the program title was sleeked down to Career Advancement (CA). Similarly when anyone speaks of CCI- (Chicago Careers in…) you will know it by the neo-neologism UCI- (UChicago Careers in…).

Preliminaries aside, you have probably already received a pamphlet or PowerPoint presentation from the entrepreneurial team over at Career Advancement, and therefore know that they are the career counselors on the top two floors of Ida Noyes. Be prepared to get to know them even better.

The capstones of the CA program are the various UCI divisions. This summer UChicago Careers in Education Professions joined UChicago Careers in Art, Business, Health Professions, Higher Education, Journalism, Law, Public and Social Service, and Science and Technology to bring the total to nine programs. Each has its own director, counselors, programming, and benefits.

Some, like Business and Education Professions, have selective admissions processes for structured programs—keep an eye out during first year for application deadlines. Others, like Health Professions and Public and Social Services are open to anyone at any time but also offer a selective fellows program that you can apply to later in your college career. The rest keep an open door. Just sign up for a meeting over the phone or online, or show up for walk-in hours on Friday afternoons.

So what should your relationship be with CA? Some people find their time speaking with career counselors to be an utter waste. Others form bonds that last well past graduation. I cannot promise either. I can promise that if you want to be eligible for any on-campus recruiting positions—which includes all Metcalf Fellowships and many grant and externship opportunities—you must first have a meeting with a CA adviser to look over your résumé and register you in the system.

CA is also your link to Chicago Career Connection, an online database where you will find hundreds of potential summer opportunities. The Metcalf program alone provides over 500 paid internships each year, and is expected to add more with help from the new Institute of Politics. CA is also a great way to access summer action grants, international experience grants, PRISM grants, and more. If you want to do something interesting with your summer, some named grant wants to pay for it. You just have to find each other. Think of Career Advancement as a matchmaker.

CA advisers also tend to take a sincere interest in students’ lives—go figure. For those of us more competent deconstructing Husserl’s systematic phenomenology in light of Levinas’s contributions to post-ontological Occidental philosophy than we are at tying a Windsor knot, 30 minutes of straight career advice from an other might be just what you need.