This past school year, 2014 - 2015, Dartmouth College’s Center for Professional Development (CPD) launched a new program for incoming freshman: the Professional Development Accelerator. Roger Woolsey, director of Dartmouth’s CPD, describes this program as “distinct among our peers in the Ivy League in that we are preparing our students for professional life from the start.”
The Professional Development Accelerator (PDA) consists of a two year program designed to facilitate student professional development, starting with freshmen in the fall. In order to offset national student concerns regarding college affordability, career preparedness, and employment outcomes, the PDA aims to be an innovative co-curricular application: synchronizing academic, personal, and professional development within the program.
The first workshops of the PDA program focus on exploration, reflection, and the articulation of meaningful experiences. Self awareness and understanding are critical fundamentals of any job search. As part of the PDA process, pymetrics will be introduced to freshmen and sophomores to get students prepared for their job search early in their academic lives. pymetrics is a full-service solution that guides students from self-discovery to company introduction, and the student response has been very positive!
Following the self-assessment / preparation stage, students begin to think about their profession more concretely through career exploration seminars that give them deeper insights into specific industries and companies, as well as various graduate schools.
The final step is “skills-based programming,” where students work on the skills that all employees require in a work environment, ie: management, conflict resolution, organizational psychology, and effective communication.
After launching the PDA in September 2014, 47 percent of Dartmouth freshman participated in the program. The PDA also yielded a 30 percent increase in engagement compared to overall freshmen attendance at all CPD programs, events, and advising appointments from the previous year. Dartmouth’s PDA program is not only innovative, making good on their new mantra “Dare to Be Different,” but it has also very clearly struck a chord with students.
Student placement is often seen as the sole priority of Career Centers, but Dartmouth has taken a more holistic approach by addressing the universal concerns of professional development, career preparedness, and the value proposition of a college education. Engaging students in a program that takes into account long term happiness and satisfaction is key to being an effective resource. For most, simply finding a job after graduation is no longer enough; students are looking for fulfilling careers to thrive in, and tools like pymetrics are helping Career Centers cater to the evolving needs of their students.
To learn more about how Dartmouth is helping students find their best-fit career, read more here:
Is your Career Center interested in using pymetrics to help your students develop greater self-awareness, explore potential career paths and even match with hiring companies? Let us know by emailing email@example.com!