Stephen Woodburn
Staff contributer

Last year the faculty voted to remove the old capstone course, LAS 499, and replace it with a new graduation requirement. It’s called PREP 499, and it’s not a traditional semester class. Rather, it attaches three hours of college credit to the process of preparing for the job market after graduation.

Seniors have this whole year to focus on career preparation. They should use their time wisely and enroll in PREP 499 the last semester before graduation. Other students should also start working on PREP 499 requirements. It’s never too early to start planning for your career.

Your advisor assigns your grade, based on a list of requirements from your major field. So the first step is to confirm that Self Service lists your advisor correctly. Some students have changed majors, but haven’t updated their record yet. It’s a very simple form, available on the Registrar’s Office webpage. You need to get your new advisor’s signature, and submit the form to the registrar to complete the change.

Discuss your career plans with your advisor. Employers look for a combination of experience and skills. Discuss with your advisor how to gain experience and acquire skills to prepare for the career you want. Then start doing the things you come up with. You need items on your résumé that show you’re prepared for the job you want.

Think about summer as a time to gain skills and experience, not just to make money. At any job, ask for more responsibility and try to learn everything you can. Ask your boss for a letter of recommendation describing what you accomplished.

Planning for a career may mean seeking not a job after graduation, but graduate school, or an internship. For PREP 499, grad school preparation is career preparation. And in recent years a record number of interns are getting job offers from the same company or agency when the internship is over. Employers like to hire those who have proven they can do the job.

Getting experience and skills is important, but representing them on your résumé and cover letter are equally important. Representing yourself in an interview is also important. Mock interviews, résumé workshops, and job fairs are great ways to work on these things. SC offers them every year. Watch for “Backpack to Briefcase” events, and contact Dan Falk or the Office of Career Planning in Sutton for more information.

We want you to earn a good grade in PREP 499, but more importantly, we want you to be prepared for a successful career after graduation.

Dr. Stephen Woodburn is an associate professor of history and the chair of the faculty this year. Contact him at