With graduation around the corner, Alma’s seniors are gearing up for graduation and preparing for life post-Alma. As a number of seniors, including myself, begin to make plans for post-graduation, we’re left scrambling as we try to figure out what exactly we’re going to use our major for, and how our education is going to help us find a job and provide for ourselves once we leave Alma.
One of the main resources that seniors are given is their capstone class, or their senior seminar. While there are different approaches to senior seminars based on the professor that teaches it, they are most often classes structured around all the knowledge that a senior has accumulated through classes related to their major. However, how ready has this left seniors for post-grad life?
I believe that, while senior seminar classes have provided a good bookend to knowledge related to our majors, they have not adequately prepared seniors for life post-Alma. This is due to several factors, but students are also not given adequate, or readily available, opportunities to work on skills that are required to find jobs in post-grad life.
This senior seminar is different for every major, but it typically results in a written paper, project, or presentation of some kind. This format for senior seminars has proven to be useful to several students, including myself.
“It felt like a good rap on [the English major]. I got to write a paper that I’m super proud of and now I get to present that at a couple different locations,” said Hannah Solomon (’23) a student in both the Psychology and English Senior Seminars in the Fall 2022 semester.
“[My class] was an overview of all of the business courses we’ve taken,” said Bailey Allison (’23), a business major that took the business capstone class in the Fall 2022 semester. This class was like the senior English senior seminar where students were mainly focused on reviewing material.
“I know in the [Psychology capstone] they have them work on their resumes and their CVs, their cover letters – all of those, whereas in business we didn’t even look at anything,” said Allison.
“I think, specifically with the senior seminar, what could have happened is maybe, instead of tailoring a lot of it towards what we already know… [give] us a seminar little bit of outside knowledge as to why what we’re learning in this specific major can be translated into whatever you’re going into outside of Alma,” said an anonymous source about the senior seminar. While I, as well as this source, feel secure in our ability to write papers and think critically, we have struggled to see how these skills with directly translate into a job post-Alma.
“[The Psychology capstone] didn’t do anything that was necessarily psych heavy, it was like ‘today we’re going to work on a resume, today we’re going to work on grad school apps’ so that by the end of the semester, like I have a full portfolio of everything,” said Solomon. Some senior seminars, like the Psychology capstone, chose to focus directly on job-readiness and preparing seniors for the possibility of grad school. This is radically different from most capstone classes but left students like Solomon feeling prepared for whatever path they chose to take post-Alma.