Published: March 2013 in College News

Launching Seniors Into the World

The senior class president and the alumni office organize programs to help graduating seniors prepare for the future

In May, 308 Westmont seniors earn their degrees and graduate into life after college. To smooth their way, an enterprising student organized Launch Week in February.

Joe Sidebotham, senior class president, scheduled workshops, lectures and career-assessment tests for his classmates. The psychology major from Monument, Colo., received some assistance from the Alumni and Parent Relations Office, whose 100-day countdown to graduation overlapped with Launch Week.

Workshop topics included interview skills, resume writing and utilizing the social networking website LinkedIn. Seniors also took the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and interest inventory tests if they wished. “It was helpful to see what our interests are and find jobs in fields that relate to our particular skill sets,” Joe says.

“After talking to the Office of Life Planning and others, I found the largest need was to help seniors develop the skills they’ll need after they graduate.”

Two professors spoke to seniors, encouraging them to confront the challenges that lie ahead: Alister Chapman, a member of the history faculty, and Coby Harmon, who teaches financial accounting.

During 100 Days Until Graduation, the alumni office hosted mock job interviews and a speed networking event where seniors talked to different alumni every 10 minutes about their careers. “I met people who could help me find a job or who offered me references,” Joe says.

“These events helped make seniors more aware of the next steps after graduation, such as getting a job and being ready for the real world.”

Personally, Joe discovered that he needs to polish his interview skills and update his resume for potential employers and, eventually, graduate schools.

“Launch Week also taught me about planning events, juggling different things, delegating and asking for help,” Joe says. “It’s a tangible experience I can mention in a job interview and describe what I accomplished.”


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