Cal Lutheran should provide counseling centered around post-graduate life

Emilee Fine, Reporter

Throughout a student’s undergraduate career at California Lutheran University they are supported and guided through academic advising and mentoring, but once the student prepares to graduate and wants to figure out their next step in their graduate career, guidance through the university seems limited.

In my opinion, Cal Lutheran should provide more guidance for their undergraduate students post-graduation. 

The University of Washington’s Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking and Technology webpage said that post-graduate career planning and preparation should always occur in academic studies. There has to be resources available so undergraduates students have the ability to get guidance on what happens post-graduation, whether it be graduate school or a career path. 

After I graduate with my bachelor’s degree, I want to go to graduate school but there is currently not a specific place I can go to for help with that at Cal Lutheran. 

There is the McNair Scholars Program that is able to help undergraduate students that fit a certain criteria, such as being a first-generation college student, from a low-income household, or an underrepresented group. However, if a student does not match the criteria then they are unable to offer assistance. 

I think it would be beneficial to all undergraduate students at Cal Lutheran if they created a place specifically for post-graduate counseling and guiding. A center for post-graduate counseling at Cal Lutheran could provide help for students and guide them to answers for their many questions. Faculty mentors, Student Success Counselors, and Career Services can guide a student in their post-graduate endeavors but none are assigned to the specific task of post-graduate assistance. 

A 2019 Forbes article written by OneEleven founder Dani Pascarella said that it is important for college graduates to have proper preparation for post-graduate life because many feel they do not have the proper experiences which can lead to a negative net worth. It is important that when universities  send their students out into the world, they have their post-graduate questions answered. 

In a phone interview with Student Success Counselor Katie Swavely, she said that she had quite a few students who have reached out to her for pointers on graduate school and what comes next after they graduate from their undergraduate program. 

“It is definitely student initiated. The students have to be proactive to reach out for that,” Swavely said.

Swavely said that some students bring up topics such as what should be included in application materials, recommendation letters, and any other questions about graduate school.  

“I have not seen a focused campaign or anything to get students ready [for graduate school],” Savely said. 

Swavely said the hope with the new advising model is that students will have better access to faculty mentors to help with guidance to choosing graduate schools and selecting letter writers for applications but it can be a hit or a miss. 

“We have a really wonderful Career Services office at Cal Lutheran but it would be nice to have more focused events because so many students do not know where to go,” Swavely said.

Swavely said it is going to take some work, to make more programming, and it is going to take time to address it. 

There are events that discuss different career topics, such as the Career Chat-Learn about Linkedln and the Career & Intern Expo 2022. Often they are not well advertised and students do not always know about them. Although there are events that cater to careers, there is still room for programming centered around graduate school. 

“I would like to think Cal Lutheran is making more space to help these situations by changing the advising structure at Cal Lutheran. My office took on a whole bunch of new responsibilities so that faculty mentors do have more time and bandwidth, to do more of the professional mentoring that students get a lot out of,” Swavely said. 

It is important that Cal Lutheran works on creating a better system for post-graduate counseling and preparation to continue to provide students to be set up for success in any aspect of a career and education path when their undergraduate years are finished.