By Emily Glory Peters
Fueled by an interdisciplinary curriculum, Scripps students combine a dazzling array of professional interests, from neuroscience and dance to art and entrepreneurship, to become unique agents in the workforce after graduation. But tapping into these strengths isn’t restricted to the classroom—with help from Scripps’ Career Planning and Resources Center (CP&R), students sharpen career competencies that last long after Commencement.
Career services have expanded at Scripps over the decades. Since CP&R found its permanent home in Malott Commons in 2000, hundreds of students have entered the center with hazy career ideas and exited with actionable professional goals.
CP&R’s Signature Career Preparation Programming
CP&R offers an engaging slate of career services, with individualized counseling at its heart. Along with résumé writing, cover letter writing, and interview workshops, all students have access to career counselors they can meet with one-on-one through appointments or drop-in hours to help 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. For unpaid internships, CP&R offers a grant program where students can apply for funding to 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 excellent avenue for students in search of their professional “light bulb moment.” Typically offered in 2–3 locations, Treks bring a small group of students to a new city to meet with multiple professionals active in career fields such as tech, entertainment, publishing, and public policy. Frequently hosted by Scripps parents and alumnae, 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.
“I saw you didn’t have to have a cookie cutter degree to find professional success.” –Deepika Sandhu ’99
To continue their career preparation, select student cohorts may participate in CP&R’s Emerging Professionals Program (EPP), a now-virtual weeklong career intensive.
“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 as well as 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
Many alumnae, such as 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 careers, CP&R offers multiple resources, such as the Bridge Program, which offers any alumnae more than two years postgrad with four hours of free career development counseling through Scripps’ partnership with Career Journeys. Alumnae 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, CP&R is there to ensure they have the support they need to succeed. Says Sandhu: “Embrace being in the experience and be open to the possibilities. If you want to be heavily involved in cherry picking the perfect path for yourself, you’ll have resources. If you want to be more open and explorative, the support is there. Career development at Scripps can be whatever you need it to be.”