Teresa Olsen, director of operations and strategic planning at the Center for Career Services, and Alumni Engagement Coordinator Jillian Arnault ’10

Teresa Olsen (left), director of operations and strategic planning at the Center for Career Services, and Alumni Engagement Coordinator Jillian Arnault ’10 receive the 2014 NACE excellence award

Colgate’s SophoMORE Connections brings  alumni back to campus to network, teach, and help students demystify career decision-making.

A signature program of the university’s Center for Career Services,  SophoMORE Connections recently won the Career Services Excellence Award at the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE).

This influential award from NACE is given for “excellence in career services best practices providing guidance, service, and resources to students.”

Colgate won the award in the small schools category, which included entries from schools such as  Amherst, Becker, and NYU Abu Dhabi.

SophoMORE connections, held every January before the spring term commences, is an evolution of the Real World program.

Real World was a signature senior-oriented career development program built upon alumni networking receptions and career exploration and life-skills panels. The January event was a beloved class-bonding time meant to calm the stress of senior year transitions, leverage the Colgate network, and illuminate career options for undecided students.

“Historically, this model was both relevant and timely, but in today’s vastly competitive marketplace for entry-level careers, Real World for seniors is too late,” says Michael Sciola, director of career services at Colgate.

“SophoMore Connections allows Colgate students to achieve the clarity and conviction in their career choice, gain sufficient internship experience to be marketable, and possess the self-efficacy necessary to excel in interviews. We needed to refocus our resources and strategy earlier.”

“Sophomores became the prime audience because they have the potential for an appropriate level of self-reflection, yet do not typically have sufficient knowledge, nor an understanding of the impact of their engagement — or lack of — on their larger career trajectory,” said Teresa Olsen, director of operations and strategic planning.

Colgate sophomores also are confronted with large academic and career choices — choosing a major, choosing a study-abroad program, and pursuing a first internship — a trifecta of motivation. SophoMORE Connections introduces them to the Colgate network at a time in their lives when it is critical.

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