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Setting Course for Success: Juniata Classes Prepare Students for Life After College

(Posted February 1, 2010)

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- The working world beyond college can be a scary thought for many college students. Juniata College has recently set into motion several courses that are directly related to relieving such fears while preparing students for future challenges they will face.

To prepare for today's job market, students need courses that present real-life situations, lay out guidelines for job searches, and provide a strong foundation for confidence upon graduation.

"It seemed like there was a missing piece for juniors and seniors transitioning out of Juniata. With these classes implemented into the curriculum, students will be more able to answer the question "What am I going to be doing when I leave Juniata?"
Darwin Kysor, director of career services

"Transitions," a course taught by Kris Clarkson, dean of students at Juniata, was implemented three years ago. It is offered in the spring to better create a more comfortable transition for graduating students going into different environments, whether it is graduate school, Americorps, the workplace, or other professions.

The class is structured as an open forum where Clarkson is not the only instructor; he also invites guest speakers. The guest speakers discuss real-life issues such as perceptions of failure, financial matters, focused exploration, international and cultural transitions, financial matters, legal issues, and the survival mindset.

Inviting guest speakers ranging in age, Clarkson says the students relate to younger adults and learn from more experienced speakers. As a result of discussing so many diverse concepts throughout the semester, students leave the class with more confidence in their abilities to deal with life transitions, whatever they may be.

"The one thing I took away from this class is that life will present highs and lows and there are numerous resources out there to help guide me through difficult and rewarding times," explains Dustin Gee, a senior from Lawrenceville, Pa. "I learned that failure can be a meaningful and powerful teaching tool."

One of Clarkson's guest speakers is Darwin Kysor, director of career services at the college. He addresses discussions about networking, available internships and other options existing for graduating students.

Kysor further explains those same concepts among others in a new course called "21st Century Career Search."


Although "21st Century Career Search" has been on Juniata's curriculum for a while, it is being offered for the first time this spring since Kysor believes the timing is right. With the nation's unemployment average at its highest since the 1980s, college students are more worried than ever about what will happen after college.


The course specifically focuses on developing student's post-graduation plans. Kysor provides students with resume assistance, skills for researching perspective employers, tips on professional appearance, how to prepare for a career fair, networking, mock interviews, graduate school options, and budgeting your first paycheck.

While the class topics may seem like typical obligations for a senior, Kysor believes that offering a class that sets aside 50 minutes a week forces students to concentrate on their future.

Senior seminar courses are also a way for students to better prepare for approaching jobs in their field of study. During these once-a-week classes in the spring, guest speakers who are currently pursuing the topic of interest will come in to talk about graduate school or their current profession.

"It seemed like there was a missing piece for juniors and seniors transitioning out of Juniata," says Darwin Kysor. "With these classes implemented into the curriculum, students will be more able to answer the question "What am I going to be doing when I leave Juniata?"

Written by: Molly Sollenberger



Contact John Wall at wallj@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3132 for more information.