Center for Student Development
Alma's Center for Student Development provides a wide range of developmental and remedial services designed to enhance the ability of students to participate in and benefit from their total college experience. Some of the services provided include individual and group counseling for personal, educational and career concerns; academic support services; assistance with exploring internships and summer employment; and career services. In addition, the Center provides career preparation programs and maintains a well-equipped Career Resource Room.
The Center staff consists of Licensed Professional Counselors and Student Development Specialists who share the philosophy that counseling and career planning are growth experiences which are an integral part of the strong liberal arts tradition of the institution. All Center services are confidential and free of charge.
Academic Effectiveness Program. Students who are having difficulty with academic progress are encouraged to contact the Center for assistance. A counselor will help to assess the difficulty and develop a plan of action. A variety of factors may cause academic difficulty, and each student is considered individually. A reading improvement program and tutorial assistance also are available.
In addition to individual counseling, the Center offers a series of Learning Lunches each term on time management methods, note-taking, classroom strategies, study skills, test-taking strategies, and test anxiety. The Learning Lunches also include topics on preparing for employment and graduate school and for pursuing internship options.
Learning Disabilities. Alma College is committed to helping qualified students with disabilities succeed in its challenging academic environment. For further information, please see Alma College's policy on learning disabilities in the Student Handbook and the Manual of Organization and Operation. For more information, contact the Center at (989) 463-7225.
Personal Adjustment Counseling. Through the normal process of growth and development, individuals often experience concerns about themselves or their relationships with others. The Center has trained staff to assist with personal, educational and vocational concerns. Students come to the Center in search of a better understanding of themselves, their values, attitudes and feelings. Others are concerned with their relationships with peers, family, roommates or members of the opposite sex. Some use the Center to help them clarify, change or become more comfortable with aspects of themselves. For others, academic achievement, vocational exploration or career decision-making is the issue.
It is the stance of the Center to promote student independence while enhancing self-determination and psycho-social development. In addition to the Center, students may use the services of the Gratiot County Community Mental Health Center. For serious long-term psychotherapy, referrals will be made to other trained professionals or agencies that specialize in a student's area of need.
Personal Development Programs. The Center routinely offers group sessions to enhance student growth and development, depending on need and interest. The Center is committed to promoting issues related to student life. Students interested in a particular topic are encouraged to make their interest known to the Center staff.
Career Preparation Program. Career preparation involves more than acquiring the skills needed for employment. Because a career is more than a succession of jobs, students need an education which includes preparation for life as well as employment. Alma College emphasizes academic excellence and career relevance by nurturing the development of the whole person.
Through Alma's Career Preparation Program, students participate in activities intended to provide insights into themselves and their skills, abilities and goals for the future. The flexible design of this program offers assistance to students with well-defined educational and vocational goals as well as those who have just begun their career exploration process. Regardless of need, all students can benefit from the programs and services offered by the Career Services staff.
Programs and Benefits. Each term students are invited to participate in a variety of events sponsored by the Center. These programs emphasize the career-related needs and concerns of students from a developmental perspective and may include networking opportunities, career preparation workshops, panel discussions and professional development seminars. Through these events students acquire the information used in developing their career plans with their advisors.
The programs improve the students' career options by helping them develop:
- Awareness of and ability to use their academic and career abilities, interests and values.
- A career plan which assures broad application of their education.
- Skills in communication, interviewing and interpersonal relationships.
- Entry-level work skills in at least one occupational area.
- Initiative in job exploration and selection.
- Assertive personal marketing techniques to emphasize talents, interest and experiences.
First-Year Emphasis. Workshops and programs designed specifically for first year students focus on assisting them to analyze their values, interests, needs, skills and experiences and to evaluate career alternatives in relation to these personal characteristics. Blocks to decision making are reviewed along with factors that affect decisions. Students also learn to use a wide variety of career planning tools.
Sophomore Emphasis. With the help of career planning resources and workshops, sophomores are encouraged to focus and crystallize their thinking regarding an academic major and career choice. Students are encouraged to study various careers in-depth and identify related academic majors. The timing of these explorations supports the College's policy which calls for all students to declare an academic major by the end of their sophomore year.
Junior Emphasis. Programs for juniors are designed to introduce them to such topics as the job search process, graduate and professional school preparation, resume preparation and the development of interviewing skills.
Senior Emphasis. Seniors should schedule an appointment at the Center for Student Development to complete their resume and learn about other programs provided throughout the senior year. Seniors are encouraged to attend several area career fairs, including "Job Pursuit," an outstanding opportunity offered by invitation only to our students. Seniors also are invited to participate in several programs designed to prepare them for life after graduation. As part of the "Living and Working In:" series, seniors are offered the opportunity to network with successful Alma alumni in cities such as Chicago, Detroit and Grand Rapids. Senior packets are made available to graduating seniors which provide information on job search, graduate school, and professional development.
Internship Opportunities. All students are encouraged to consider seeking a practicum or internship during their years at Alma. Whether paid or unpaid, credit-bearing or not, such opportunities provide students with valuable experience which assists them in clarifying career interests as well as obtaining employment after graduation. While some academic departments assist students with identifying practicum sites, many opportunities are obtained by students with the assistance of Center staff. However, to receive credit for an experiential learning opportunity, students must obtain sponsorship from an academic department, demonstrate proficiency in the appropriate field and have a sound academic background. The student and the sponsoring faculty member establish learning objectives related to the experience. Supplemental reading, research and journal writing are some of the activities students engage in while on the job.
Career Resource Room (CRR). Comprehensive and current information pertaining to careers and graduate education is an important ingredient in career planning. Appropriate decisions cannot be made without an awareness of alternatives. The CRR, located on the lower level of Hamilton Commons, contains a wide variety of information on graduate schools and careers.
This information includes materials relating personal characteristics to academic majors and careers, an extensive collection of graduate/professional school materials, books and other information on the job search process, and corporate and geographical information. Also available are lists of current job openings, graduate school scholarship information and materials to assist students in obtaining internships and summer employment. Additionally, the Center provides students with the use of computers to access employment databases and for conducting job and internship searches on the World Wide Web. Printers and copiers also are available for producing final copies of resumes and cover letters.
Career Services. The Center for Student Development provides extensive career services for seniors and alumni. The staff offers individual assistance developing a job search plan, cover letters, resumes and graduate-school applications. Throughout the year, programs on job search strategies, applying to graduate schools and effective interviewing techniques are offered, as well as individual assistance on a variety of career-related topics. On- and off-campus interviews with corporate recruiters and graduate school representatives are arranged. Of particular interest are networking trips to Chicago, Detroit and Grand Rapids that provide students and alumni opportunities to interact and discuss options for living and working in those cities. Career services also include mailing placement credentials.