Career and Placement Services (CAPS) has set up a new Web site for the Jeff Metcalf Fellows Program, a group of summer internships offered to University undergraduates. Moving the entire application process online is one of several changes to the Metcalf program that were implemented this year with the intention of making the internships more accessible to students.
"The Web site was created in response to students' concerns and complaints," said Gwen Jessen, director of major gifts for the College. Jessen said that the new Web site helps to acquaint students with the program by allowing them to browse through the listings of internships by categories such as deadline, interest, and location.
"I think the new Web site makes it easier to search for things you may be interested in," said Christina Imholt, a fourth-year in the College who had a Metcalf internship last summer.
This year, the whole application process is online, including the submission of recommendation letters by professors. "Before this year, the application process had two tracks for submittal: online and hardcopy," Jessen said. "We created the Web site where it can be done entirely online."
Through the Web site, students can choose which recommendation letter to use in a particular application. Previously they had to call CAPS to arrange for different letters to be used. Professors also had to drop off letters at the CAPS office. "The students have more control over their letters of recommendation," said Audra Nelson, the associate director for internship programming at CAPS.
Students must apply through both the Metcalf Fellows Web site and Interviewtrak, a part of Monster.com. Students submit applications and recommendation requests on the Metcalf Web site, caps.uchicago.edu/metcalf, and submit resumes and essays to interviewtrak.com.
This year CAPS has also pushed forward several of the Metcalf program deadlines. While in the past students could apply for internships during spring quarter, this year's deadlines will all occur during winter quarter.
"The deadlines for internships will go into March, but not beyond. We are really trying to move up the deadlines to help students," Jessen said. "In the past, we have received complaints from students applying to internships, especially in New York and D.C., that they were notified too late to find affordable housing for the summer."
This year, fourth-year College students who held Metcalf internships last summer were invited to help faculty, alumni, and staff with the on-campus first round interviewing for the program. "They asked fourth-years who aren't going to be able to take another Metcalf internship to help interview the new candidates," said Maya Ganguly, a fourth-year in the College. "I was told that we probably would interview in the same area [as our internships]."
"The goal is for students to feel really confident in the final round interviews with the employer," Nelson said.
There are currently more than 100 Metcalf internships offered to University undergraduates in fields including art, medicine, information technology, consulting, banking, media, and nonprofits. Internships are located throughout the United States and in international cities.
A guaranteed stipend of $4,000 is awarded to each Metcalf intern, who is required to work for ten consecutive weeks during the summer.
The Metcalf program was begun in 1997 by several alumni in honor of Jeff Metcalf, A.M. '53, who served as the dean of students at the Graduate School of Business from 1956 to 1975 and as the University's director of athletics from 1976 to 1981, and who was committed to helping students find the right careers. The aim of its founders was to continue Metcalf's strong sense of community, networking, and opportunity for students.
"We are trying to make this more than an internship. Our hope is that it is a community of people who are committed to learning and career success," Nelson said. "The neat thing about this program is that alumni founded it and they continue to be intimately involved."
CAPS held a reception for the Metcalf program on Tuesday evening at the University Club downtown. Ten students who have had Metcalf internships spoke about their experiences to alumni of the University. "The alums were encouraged to become involved with the program by either offering Metcalf internships, donating money, or conducting interviews," said Liz Michaels, the director of CAPS.
"We were just taking about the internships that we had," said Margo Johnston, a third-year in the College. "One of the things CAPS keeps looking for is other options, other job opportunities [for students]."
Nelson said that there are many other internship opportunities besides the Metcalf program that are easily accessible from the CAPS Web site. A variety of programs are offered to help students with the essentials of an internship or career search, such as preparing a résumé, cover letter writing, and interviewing. Students can also make personal appointments to meet with staff and discuss their personal goals.
"I think it's a very worthwhile program," Johnston said. "The arts don't pay and I have the opportunity to work in the arts and still support myself."
Imholt agreed. "I don't think you can get better than this a paid internship doing something I loved that would otherwise not have been feasible," she said.