September 25, 2017
Hillary Hempstead
Two people walking in front of Stevenson Hall
Photo credit: Kevin Reeves

As Jahkeem Wheatley entered his third year, he started to envision his career plans. A law and society and sociology double major, he was considering law school but wanted to know more about his options.

“I wanted advice on law schools—everything from what classes are like, the admission process, the LSAT—to hearing the different paths people took to get to law school,” says Wheatley. “I also wanted career advice to figure out in which fields of law I was most interested.”

So he sought assistance from the Career Development Center (CDC) to find answers. Wheatley was introduced to Wisr, a new platform that connects students with the Oberlin alumni network. Using the service, he contacted alumni who offered their perspectives on what a career in law could look like.

“After talking to different alumni and hearing their experiences, I got to understand some of the pros and cons of choosing to go straight to law school after college or taking time off and doing something else in between. I also realized I am most interested in corporate, entertainment, sports, and intellectual property law.”

According to Lori Young, director of the Career Development Center, the past summer was full of changes for the center, and Wisr is just one of those.

One of the center’s most evident upgrades is the change in its name from “Career Center” to “Career Development Center.” The addition of the word “Development” reflects a strategic shift in how the CDC wants to work with students.

“We wanted our name to reflect that career development is part of the entire student development experience,” says Young. “Students can make use of our services beginning as a first year and through their transition into the world outside of Oberlin.”

The Career Development Center has turned its attention to three core competencies:

  1. Identifying careers that align with a student’s interests. Through Handshake, a career management platform, students can access job and internship opportunities that match their interests. The center also offers assessments that match a student’s passions with specific career paths.
  2. Building a professional network. Wisr, a mobile-friendly platform, helps students have conversations with alumni who are eager to share their advice and expertise about specific careers and industries.
  3. Helping students articulate their value. The CDC assists students with both verbal and written expressions of the particular experience and skills a student offers. This typically takes the form of an “elevator pitch” or a cover letter.


The CDC is also meeting students where they spend most of their time—in the classroom, in the residence halls, and during club or program meetings.

“We can’t wait for students to always come to us. We are proactively finding ways to integrate career development into the student experience,” says Young. “We developed a Career Education Curriculum for faculty, staff, and student groups to request career education programs. These programs range from topics like “Explore Your Interests,” targeted for those students who want to narrow their focus a bit, to “Tell Your Story” for those students ready to communicate all of the highlights of their education.”

For students who want to get started, QuickStart appointments are available and can be scheduled on-line here.  Help is also available during drop-in hours from 3 to 5 p.m. every Monday through Friday at the CDC office in Stevenson Hall or by calling or stopping by the office to schedule an advising appointment.

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