Kalamazoo, MI
one-hundred-forty-one Years of Service to the Student


Behind the Scenes of Confident at Commencement

The Center for Career and Professional Development [Elyse Tuennerman / The Index]

Though there is no “typical” trajectory for a K College senior, CCPD Director Joan Hauxhurst observes that nearly all of them seem to be extremely busy: “Students are consumed by their SIP research, they are often leading organizations and managing part time jobs and they have really risen to levels of responsibility and challenge in most everything they are doing.” Even so, she hopes they will find time to attend some of the CCPD’s Confident at Commencement events.

The event series was conceived four years ago after a series of focus groups with the Class of 2015 asked seniors what they did not feel confident about so the CCPD could help fill in those gaps. In the first year, the Hauxhurst says the CCPD tried to cover the key themes they recognized during one event. Since then, they have tried to spread out the events to make them more informative and digestible.

This year there will be six events, covering diverse topics including taxes, savings and the job search. Each session comes with a complimentary lunch, which Hauxhurst says she likes to think of as a parting gift for the senior class.

The series is taking place during winter term for a few reasons. First, students seem less busy compared to the spring term. Secondly, spring term is the time when seniors are most likely to apply the skills that the Confident at Commencement sessions teach.

Hauxhurst says that the CCPD is realizing that with all of the demands on the average K senior, from comps to SIPs, they have attempted to expand their approach and “expect to work with graduates throughout the calendar.”

“We work with a lot of graduates throughout the summer and into the fall, because that’s when they have time to make it a priority,” Hauxhurst said.

The CCPD is aware that more students seem to be taking a gap between between graduation and graduate school or their first major job. At the same time, Hauxhurst also says that they are aware that many K students “don’t have a safety net … that would allow them to take a gap year before applying to graduate school.” For this reason, the CCPD is trying to make post-graduation planning available to both current seniors and the recent graduates. The career coaches are available for in-person appointments and via email and Skype during the summer months.

Finally, another important aspect of the summer is the First Destination Survey, which collects information about the first job or graduate school placement of graduated seniors. Hauxhurst emphasized the importance of filling out the survey, both for the school’s reputation and so that the CCPD can continue to help and support K grads.

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Behind the Scenes of Confident at Commencement