Graduation Guarantee to aid career planning

By Isabella Bravo

Jenny Moser wants to find an internship to further her career, but is having problems lining one up.

“I had a friend who didn’t do an internship and found out after she graduated that she can’t see herself doing this in 10 years,” said Moser, a senior in exercise and sports science. “An internship is important to see if you even like (your future career).”

The U started a new program to help students like Moser find the internships they need.

The Associated Students of the University of Utah will launch the Graduation Guarantee Initiative, a program designed to help students make long-term plans to complete their university education in four to five years. The program will also give students opportunities to work with career counselors and find internships for their major or intended career.

Dana Sowby, associate director of Career Services, said that most students either come in as freshmen or a week before graduation. “Juniors tend to be the ones looking for internships (though),” she said.

Graduation Guarantee recommends that students visit career advisers early in their education to integrate career and postgraduate goals into the development of their educational plan. Career advising is currently voluntary. University students and alumni can meet with career counselors free of charge any time up to one year after graduation.

The program will continue the U’s pursuit from the past school year to ensure better student planning. The U implemented mandatory academic advising for freshman students last fall.

The U cracked down on students who didn’t meet the 60 credit hour rule last spring. Students who do not declare a major by the time they accrue 60 credit hours are not allowed to register for classes.

The rule was fairly lax when the U required students to meet with career counselors to help them pick a major, Sowby said.

The Graduation Guarantee is a voluntary, contract-based program, in which students create an educational plan with the help of an academic adviser.

The contract requires students to create an educational plan and timeline for graduation, meet with an academic adviser every semester, enroll and complete the courses outlined in the plan, and monitor their own academic progress.

If the student maintains his or her side of the contract, the U agrees to revise the contract if necessary. The maximum contract length is five and a half years, or eleven semesters.

Sharon Aiken-Wisniewski, head of the committee implementing the program, said that the program gives students the opportunity to manage their time efficiently and plan a graduation timeline.

The program offers a career-based educational plan instead of focusing so much on a student’s major.

Basim Motiwala, last year’s ASUU vice-president, said the program was inspired to help make sure students graduate.

ASUU student body president Patrick Reimherr said he believes the program will assist students in long-term planning and help them make a connection between academic plans and career plans.

Lisa Werkhausen, an undeclared freshman, said she has a hard time getting useful information out of class. “An internship would be better than going to classes.”

Werkhausen hasn’t planned on an internship yet, but might make good use of the new program when she’s ready.

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Tyler Cobb

Robert Finlinson, a junior in Mechanical Engineering, will earn 3 of his tech elective credits though his full time job of designing parts for prosthetic limbs. Finlinson does a co-op though the U allowing him to earn the credits.