Your Giving in Action: Career Planning & Resources at Scripps College

By Emily Glory Peters

With help from donors, Scripps College has offered professional development services to students since the 1960s, eventually creating the Career Planning & Resources center.

In 1926, Scripps College was founded as a haven for liberal arts education—but the professional application of these disciplines has grown to be just as important. Through the decades, enthusiastic donors have helped expand career services at Scripps, including gifts from the Malott family and Carlotta Welles ’39 that have made Scripps’ Career Planning & Resources (CP&R) center what it is today.

Now, hundreds of students are able to enter the center with hazy career ideas and exit with actionable career goals. From neuroscience and dance to art and entrepreneurship, they learn to combine a dazzling array of academic and extracurricular interests into professional outcomes. And as alums, parents, and friends continue to support CP&R, their gifts provide students with multiple avenues of success beyond the classroom.

CP&R’s Signature Career Preparation Programming

Gifts power an engaging slate of career services through CP&R, with individualized counseling at its heart. Along with résumé building, cover letter writing, and interview workshops, all students have access to career counselors they can meet with one-on-one to envision, formulate, and pursue their career goals.

Experiential learning opportunities are also central to CP&R’s offerings, with more than 85 percent of students completing at least one summer internship. Donors make these grants possible, helping students cover rent, groceries, and other living expenses while they develop concrete career skills.

“There are still way too many unpaid internships, and while we encourage our students to take paid work, we also want them to be able to consider as many opportunities as possible,” explains Interim Director of CP&R Ashley Valdez. “Internship grants help level the playing field and are available to all class years, including seniors.”

While presently on pause pending pandemic restrictions, CP&R’s Career Exploration Treks are another way donor gifts give students their professional “light bulb moment.” Funded in part by donors and frequently made possible by Scripps alums and parents who serve as hosts, treks take students from Claremont, CA to a new city to meet with professionals active in tech, entertainment, publishing, public policy, and a variety of other fields. Treks have spotlighted employers in Chicago, Seattle, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., and other popular locales to help students get a taste of life after Scripps.

Donor support of CP&R also fuels the center’s Emerging Professionals Program (EPP), a weeklong career intensive designed for students ready to level up their career preparation.

“EPP’s program involves days of career, personality, and strengths exploration for students to discover who they are and what industries or occupations they may want to consider,” says Valdez. “We take into account how their abilities, interests, and values manifest in the workplace and work those into strategic conversations, alumnae panels, workshops, speed interviews, elevator pitch development, and more.”

When ready to join the workforce on or off campus, Scripps students have access to job opportunities through tools like Handshake and CP&R’s virtual hiring fairs, where they can explore positions, meet recruiters, and practice interviewing. CP&R also compiles an annual digital résumé book featuring seniors and members of the last graduated class to promote to potential employers for increased professional exposure.

Resources for Scripps Alumnae

The impact of support doesn’t stop once students leave campus. Many alumnae, such as donor and past CP&R student worker Deepika Sandhu ’99, can attest to CP&R’s reverberating effects on their careers.

“I chose Scripps because I loved the academics, but I knew going into a liberal arts college wouldn’t be a 1:1 translation to a job like accounting or engineering. CP&R was hugely influential on my quest for professional development,” says Sandhu, partner of specialized professional services firm Connor Group and a recently published author. “Meeting so many alums through CP&R, attending and facilitating panels, I saw you didn’t have to have a cookie cutter degree to find professional success. That was really powerful.”

To support alums’ evolving professions, CP&R offers multiple resources. The Bridge Program, for example, was made possible by an anonymous gift from an alumna, and offers any alum more than two years postgrad four hours of free career development counseling through Scripps’ partnership with Career Journeys.

Alums also have access to several free career development webinars, such as the recent “So, Now What?” and “Career Conversations” series designed to inspire and invigorate alumnae at any stage in their careers. And every member of the Scripps Community is encouraged to join Olive Grove, the College’s exclusive social media network, to discover career opportunities, recruit students for jobs or internships, and form purposeful connections.

Regardless of the route students choose, by giving to CP&R, Scripps’ donor community ensures they have the support they need to succeed. Says Sandhu: “My cohorts and fellow alums are off doing all sorts of wonderful things, leading incredibly rich lives. Students need to know that it all works out—and that they will have amazing careers.”