Forty-five Georgetown graduates enrolled in law school in 2016, one of the top fields of study for those going directly to graduate school according to the Class of 2016 First Destination Report released by the Cawley Career Education Center.

Like these students before her, Corine Forward (COL ’19) plans to apply to law school. Forward’s future plans prompted her to visit the Cawley Career Education Center her freshman year, seeking guidance on how best to seek out legal internships in Washington, D.C.

Upon arrival at the career center’s “drop-in hours,” Forward was turned away. Though she had checked the Cawley Center’s website to confirm when these informal hours were, Forward was told no one was available to speak with her that day.

“The woman at the desk referred me back to the website and making an appointment to see someone. I was a little bit thrown off because I just wanted to chat with her or maybe someone else,” Forward said. “She just kept referring me to the website and wasn’t being communicative like
I thought she’d be. My impression then was that she was just there to deflect.”

Forward’s experience with the career center is not uncommon among students, and highlights just one of many issues students have taken with the Cawley Center.

ANNA KOVACEVICH/THE HOYA Cawley Career Center has drawn criticism from students, despite its recent efforts to improve.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A void in the Cawley Center

There are currently no available scheduled appointments for the rest of fall semester, nor are there any posted for the spring semester, according to the career center’s website.

The Cawley Center currently offers 15-minute “drop-in” sessions between 1 and 4 p.m. every weekday. These sessions do not require a scheduled appointment and were created as an attempt to make the center’s services more accessible to students, according to Beth Harlan, associate director of the Cawley Center.

However, when Kiren Chaudry (COL ’20) tried to drop in after failing to find an available online appointment, she was turned away.

“They told me I couldn’t make an appointment in person, and that I had to make one online, but every time I went online it said there was no appointment available,” Chaudry said.

The Cawley Center’s use of an online platform called Handshake, a website where students can look for employment and sign up for appointments has streamlined the sign-up process for students.
However, the ease of Handshake has caused the limited amount of appointments to fill up fast.

“Our move to Handshake has provided convenient online appointment scheduling and has also meant appointments are booked well in advance,” Harlan wrote in an email to The Hoya.

International Students left in the dark

Earlier this semester, international students voiced concerns over the Cawley Center’s Sept. 15
Career Fair, criticizing a perceived lack of employers who sponsored work visas for international students interested in working in the United States after graduation.

Of the 103 companies listed on the Cawley Center’s website participating in the event, 38 claimed to offer visa sponsorships, 23 reportedly accepted candidates who possessed a valid student visa and the remaining 52 required proof of permanent work authorization from companies that claimed to sponsored work visas denied that they did.

Ingrid Glitz (SFS ’18), an international student from Brazil who is leading a crowdsourcing effort to petition for additional resources for international students, said she was frustrated by the confusion and the inconveniences international students had to face to find out which employers might support them.

“When we got there, some of the companies were mad, actually. Some said they didn’t but they did, and some of the companies said that they did sponsor visas but they didn’t,” Glitz said. “So, the list was not completely correct.”

Cawley responds to students’ need

Staff searches to offset the increased demand for career advice are currently taking place, Harlan said. The Cawley Center currently has eight full-time staff members listed on its website.

“As you know, demand for appointments is high this semester, as it is every semester,” Harlan wrote. “We are scaling our work and conducting searches to hire new staff to increase our capacity to meet students’ needs.”

Harlan said the Cawley Center’s hiring process will include a new health/science advisor, whose scope will be more focused on strategy for careers in these fields and building relationships with employers rather than strategy for graduate school applications.

These hiring efforts come after the program review carried out by the career center last spring resulted in an “implementation committee,” according to Susan Campbell, the Cawley Center’s interim executive director. This implementation committee is tasked with creating innovative and effective ways to improve the center’s services.

Other efforts to improve

The Cawley Center was recently designated to the Office of Academic Affairs, specifically under the Vice Provost for Education Randy Bass, a move from its previous designation under Division of Student Affairs.

“Given our recent move to Academic Affairs, as well as students’ strong affiliation with their schools, we hope to build closer relationships with academic councils, professors, and deans,” Harlan wrote.

Bass said his office will strive to equip the Cawley Center with better resources to help students gain access to informative and helpful services.

“Responding to students’ needs has been a top priority of the Provost Office, Cawley and many other University staff. Career Center staff are deeply committed to supporting students’ career development in a variety of ways,” Bass wrote in an email to The Hoya.

Other initiatives to support students as they seek career advice include one-credit academic professional courses such as “Personal Narrative and Professional Discernment,” and classroom visits to help students connect their learning to a larger career narrative and strategy.

Georgetown University Student Association has worked closely with the center to improve its offerings. Last week, GUSA announced its collaboration with the Cawley Center to launch a pilot program granting 10 students a $1,500 stipend for working unpaid internships this spring.

GUSA President Kamar Mack (COL ’19) encouraged students to reach out to GUSA with their frustrations or any issues they may be having with the Cawley Center.

“We encourage students who have experienced difficulties to get in touch with us directly so we can talk through solutions to the problems they see,” Mack wrote in an email to The Hoya.

“The Cawley Career Education Center is one of GUSA’s closest and most critical university partners; we are certain that they would be open to respectful, constructive feedback from GUSA channels.”

While the career center is engaging in initiatives to improve its services, some of these efforts have left students frustrated. In an effort to utilize peer support, the Cawley Center recently partnered with the Writing Center to host their tutors for resume reviews.

In her visit to the Cawley center this October, Jane Yang (SFS ‘18) was surprised to find the staffer reviewing her resume was a sophomore undergraduate student.

“I had a sophomore overlook my resume as a senior and I don’t think I’ve ever felt so invalidated. It was very jarring,” Yang said. “I was very much expecting a professional who worked their full time to go over my stuff with me, but instead it was just a student and I could’ve just asked any other student to go over it at this point.”

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2 Comments

  1. Concerned Hoya says:

    The Career Center also has had no pre-law advisor since the position was vacated last month, so students with questions about taking the LSAT and applying to law school have nowhere to turn!

  2. Pingback: The Top 10 News Stories of 2017

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