GPP Limits

Brittany Hayes, Reporter

Some students enrolled in the Guaranteed Placement Program [GPP], which is designed to help students obtain internships or acceptance into graduate programs, may not qualify for benefits.

Senior Mary Bove has been part of the GPP since her freshman year, but now that she is graduating a semester early problems have begun.

Bove sent an email to the Insalaco Center for Career Development asking if she would be able to take the senior year workshops with this semester’s graduating seniors. She learned this is not an option and she would have to return in the spring after graduating to complete the program.

“Basically I would have to come back the semester after I graduate in order to meet the requirements to still be a member of the program in order to get an internship for three months at $8 an hour
or whatever it is. I don’t think it’s fair, but I guess that’s just their protocol,” said Bove.

Bove said there is no chance that she will return to finish her GPP requirements.

“No way. There is no way I am coming back here because what if I do have a job? This was just in case, a backup plan,” she said.

Bernadette Rushmer, Director of the Insalaco Center for Career Development, said students who plan to graduate early are still required to return to complete the program, but it will be beneficial to do so.

“A lot of times when a student will be graduating early, we meet with them in the fall of their senior year and we gear up what we do with them in terms of trying to find a job. We’d rather see students secure employment or acceptance into graduate school, and I’m sure they would too,” said Rushmer.

Bove said looking back she would not have devoted time to completing all of the requirements for GPP if she knew that it would be useless to her in the long run.

“Everybody did it, but I think it’s honestly a waste now because if I had known that I couldn’t complete it and graduate early then I just wouldn’t have signed up for it,” she said. “It’s good that I got those classes and workshops because they are informative, but I wish I would’ve known and I wouldn’t have stressed so much about getting everything done, attending everything, and keeping up with it.”

Transfer students, however, cannot complete the program. Transfer students can attend workshops and get credit, but they will not be offered the paid internship option.

Rushmer said transfer students have a similar program, but because GPP is set up over four years, it is not possible for them to reap the rewards.

“The reasoning behind that is because it’s structured over four years so what has happened in the past if a student transfers in, they have missed the requirements of the previous years. We have started the levels program to allow for students who transfer in to be part of the GPP and they would get recognition, but they would not be eligible for the internship. It’s something they can put on their resume,” said Rushmer.

Rushmer believes transfer students should still take the opportunity to complete as many workshops as they can.

“It is a nice way for them to get involved and get the recognition that they were involved,” said Rushmer.

Bove thinks all students should be given the same opportunities to succeed.

“They should have a shot at it. We all go here. Just because you transfer in a couple years after someone else does, you’re still a first year student here and all first years should have the chance to complete the GPP program,” said Bove.

News of students having to miss required GPP appointments due to weather-related cancellations has also been circulating around campus.

Rushmer vowed to look into such cases and was surprised to hear about such removals from the GPP.

“I would be very surprised by that because we were looking at that and trying our best rescheduling due to weather,” said Rushmer.

Bove has a number of friends who have been removed from the pro- gram and believes that faculty should try their best to accommodate students who must reschedule appointments.

“I have quite a few friends who have been kicked out. I honestly don’t think it’s fair. If
you can’t make a meeting at a certain time, especially because of the weather, then they should accommodate you – that is their job. If we try to do what we can then they should try to do what they are supposed to do,” said Bove.

Bove thinks the GPP should be run on a three strikes and you’re out system to give students ample opportunity to prove their commitment to the program rather than dismissal due to a missed appointment.

The GPP program, according to Rushmer, is designed to help students in career development.

“What we do is we focus on the career development pieces of securing employment after graduation or graduate or professional school. It is a structured four year program so students come in each semester to build upon their skill set. So the hope is then by the time they are graduating they feel prepared they know the steps to take to interview for a job, apply for a job, or likewise for graduate school,” said Rushmer.

If upon completion of the program and six months after a student graduates he or she does not have a job, GPP will work with the student to get placement in a three-month paid internship.

“It is a three-month paid internship and we would work with the student to find something that matches what they’re looking for. We would try our best to get it in a location that works for them, though we do need to look atthe job market and where things would be available,” said Rushmer.

Bove feels she misunderstood the internship placement specifics.

“It should be more clear. I didn’t realize it was only a three-month internship for $8 an hour. It’s not even a job. I heard they can put you wherever. So if they put you in Alaska making $8 an hour, you can’t live on that,” said Bove.

Rushmer said students who enter the GPP are informed of all of the tasks ahead of them during their first year experience class on campus.

“I will say during first year experience, we do a session with all of the first year students so we outline to them what the program entails, provide them with a handout that says, ‘Here’s what you need to do each semester,’ so they have a clear understanding of what they need to do,” said Rushmer.

Rushmer said the GPP is an important program because students can learn much about professional development, which will help them in their chosen career paths.

“Certainly the pros are that students who complete the program do feel prepared. They know the basics. They know how to get their resume started, they have some interviewing skills, they know a little bit about the job search process, how to dress for an interview, etiquette, they have a little bit of cultural experience behind them so that really is our goal – so students feel prepared when it comes time to graduate,” said Rushmer.

Rushmer said students who are not GPP members are welcome to attend any workshops that they choose, and they are encouraged to meet with counselors in the Insalaco Center regardless of membership.

“GPP is truly about the skill development. We want them to feel prepared, not stressed out and even for students not involved in the GPP, anybody can attend any of the workshops, anybody can meet with a counselor here whether they are GPP or not. We work with a lot of students who are and who are not part of the program,” said Rushmer.

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