November 15, 2004

CAPS: Take the next step

As students at the University of Chicago, it is sometimes easy to become lost in the academic workload and various obligations one experiences during the course of a week. While it may be difficult to remember that there is a life beyond the four years of undergraduate education, a student ignores his future opportunities only at great cost to the smoothness of transitioning to the working world.

At the University, the Career and Planning Services (CAPS) is dedicated to helping students plan out their lives outside of their studies, and is the instrumental campus organization in helping students find jobs. CAPS offers workshops to build skills needed for the application process, arranges for firms and speakers to present to students, and provides practice interviews for students to hone their delivery. CAPS advertises its services, but its programs are optional and often do not penetrate the radar screens of highly involved students who cannot spare a minute out of their schedule to give some pause for the future.

There also exists on campus an impression that the job fairs sponsored by CAPS feature mostly investment firms, and hold little interest for students pursuing a course of studies in the humanities or social sciences. Such students find even less incentive to take the time to attend a workshop when they feel it will yield only a marginal benefit.

CAPS may well point to the quantity of students who don smart suits and always keep a copy of their résumé on hand, but the fact remains that a large percentage of the student body resents their paucity of opportunities, or only vaguely wonders what they might be missing. Taking initiative is important and admirable; all the same, CAPS should recognize an obligation not only to assisting the seekers, but to reaching out to those who don't know how to begin.