The Observer is a Student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame & Saint Mary's. Learn more about us.



Arts and Letters students: don’t be discouraged

JoAnn DellaNeva and Lee Svete | Thursday, September 15, 2011

Stress. High pressure. Competition.

The Observer editorial used these words last Friday to describe the atmosphere on campus as students work to land an internship or job. But those three words also describe the world confronting job seekers at every school — and job seekers of almost any age, experience level or profession.

The good news — the don’t-be-discouraged news — is that within the first year after graduation, a full 98 percent of Notre Dame’s newest alumni class will be gainfully employed, according to Career Center statistics.

Even in the current economic climate, 97 percent of members of the College of Arts and Letters Class of 2010 are gainfully employed in full-time work (36%), in graduate or professional school (35%), in a service program (21%) or in the military/pursuing “other plans” (5%).

Only 3 percent, when surveyed one year out, reported that they were still seeking employment compared to 2 percent reported by the Mendoza College of Business undergraduate Class of 2010 and similar figures reported by new alumni of Notre Dame’s other colleges. What these numbers tell is that a Notre Dame liberal arts education develops the personal, analytic and communication skills that prepare you to succeed right away in today’s economy, let alone in the long term.

Does this mean students need to work to discern the right post-graduation path and decide what the best first step might be on that path? Of course. In fact, it takes the same passion, drive and follow-through that it took to get to Notre Dame, that it takes to graduate from Notre Dame and that it will take to be successful after college.

Should the University do more? Again, of course. We are continually striving to find new ways to assist students. But the paper’s editorial last week did not mention many excellent programs that help students prepare for life after Notre Dame.

Among them are the Arts and Letters Summer Internship program, the Arts and Letters Boot Camp (held in Chicago during spring break each year), and the annual “What’s Next? Week” (set for Sept. 26-29 this year) — all designed just for Arts and Letters students.

In addition to a career fair on Sept. 29, the latter includes events to help Arts and Letters students with everything from interviewing and networking skills to preparing for graduate school, applying to service programs and finding employment in the business world.

Don’t stay home.

JoAnn DellaNeva

Associate Dean, Undergraduate Studies

College of Arts and Letters

Sept. 14

Lee Svete

Director, Career Center

University of Notre Dame

Sept. 14