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FOCUS group to help students

03/16/2010
By:

Jessica Giannone

Staff Writer

Sometimes, it’s better to think outside of the box, as people like Geraldine Prince, the coordinator of employer recruitment programs at Southern, would say. When it comes to choosing a major or a career, she said Southern’s Center for Career Services FOCUS program does just that.
Sarah Green, a Southern senior majoring in communications, said the FOCUS program helps students decide what they should major in and pursue as a career.
“It gives you an online assessment based on your interests, morals and hobbies,” said Green.
Prince said that the program doesn’t tell students what they should pursue, but rather it gives them pieces of information to consider.
“It’s not a scientific assessment,” said Prince.
According to Stacey Riccardi, the assistant director at the Center for Career Services, FOCUS has been functioning since Fall 2009.
Prince said Southern used to have the DISCOVER program, but they are always looking to update services.
“In general,” said Prince, “it’s a less complicated program.”
Prince said the center found it was easier to navigate FOCUS.
But how exactly can a person use the program? According to Green, a student has to go to the FOCUS Web site and create an account for a quick online assessment.
Prince said the system is set so that “complex information” is in a “clear, concise and organized manner.”
“It also directs you to different companies or organizations that have openings,” said Green.
Riccardi said the program not only helps to guide students with careers, but with other major choices.
“It helps them not only with what they want to do,” said Riccardi, “but it’s helping them think outside of the box.”
Riccardi said the program bases the assessment on abilities and skills, and what is available as well.
“It might give them something that they’ve never thought about before,” said Prince.
According to the Career Services Web site, a student can “learn about different career opportunities and gain insight into the ‘day in the life’ for a specific job” and “compare occupations [they] are considering.”
Prince said the users are normally current students.
Riccardi said, however, students and alumni can use the program, and it is only for students or alumni from Southern.
Prince said professors can also navigate throughout the site and see what students complete.
“We encourage students to come in with results and make an appointment,” said Prince.
Riccardi said the computer lab in the Career Services office is available to students and alumni from 8:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. during the week, without an appointment.
“Some people come in to change their career,” said Prince, “and we recommend that they use the system also.”
Prince said because of the tough economic condition, some people might have been laid off, or a job closed, which is why FOCUS is available to alumni as well as students.
“We have a lot of sophomores come in that are referred by their advisor, along with freshmen,” said Prince.
The Career Services web page said “FOCUS will be most effective if you meet with a career counselor at Career Services to review your results.”
The Career Services office is located in Schwartz Hall, Room 102.

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