The comprehensive career services program is available to all students and alumnae. It is based on the premise that career planning is highly individual and lifelong. The career services staff helps students formulate their plans for careers, future study or both.
Students are encouraged to consult career services early and often. The formal program begins in the fall semester of a student’s first year at Sweet Briar.
A four-year plan introduces students to the concept of career services:
- First-year students engage in self-assessment and are encouraged to begin exploring career fields of interest. Students can take inventory tests and engage with the office’s online program through CareerBeam, which provides insightful information regarding career preferences, personality traits and action plans. Through carefully planned workshops, students take the first steps toward establishing career goals and constructing effective résumés.
- Second-year students focus on exploration. Students continue to explore career fields of interest, attend advanced workshops on such topics as developing résumés and cover letters, interviewing and networking. Students may also participate in internship opportunities or explore career fields through work experiences.
- Third-year students focus more directly on their experiences. Students are expected to participate in either focused career research or begin preparing for graduate school. Interview and job-search techniques are enhanced while students continue to work on these areas. Internship opportunities consisting of on- and off-campus employment are emphasized. Students receive assistance with the graduate and professional school application process.
- Fourth-year students focus on lifetime applications of skills and interests. These students are assisted in the formal aspects of job searching. Information gathered over their previous three years - inventory tests, internship experiences, résumés and other experiences - provide the documented references seniors need to prepare for job fairs and interviews. Sweet Briar participates in major job-search opportunities such as field- or major-specific career events, campus interviews, and annual local and regional job fairs. Through mock interviews and programs designed to transition them to the world of work, Sweet Briar students are provided with many opportunities to manage the transition from college to careers.
At Sweet Briar, internships are defined as a work experience related to a student’s academic program. These are serious academic experiences that must be sponsored by a member of the faculty and approved by an academic program. To be eligible for an internship, a student must be a rising sophomore, junior or senior and have a cumulative grade-point average of at least 2.0. She must have completed at least three semester hours of course work in the field of study to which her internship is related, and she must have a grade-point average of at least 2.0 in this field. Students who are on any type of academic probation are not eligible for internships.
An internship must consist of a minimum of 40 hours of work per earned credit hour, either at the workplace or in related fieldwork, and will usually receive one to three semester hours of credit. Internships of longer duration that are more academically substantive may be awarded more credit - up to a maximum of six semester hours for any one internship - with the recommendation of the faculty sponsor, approval of the academic program head and approval of the dean. No more than 12 semester hours of internship credit may be counted toward the undergraduate degree. Internships are graded on a pass/credit/no credit basis.
Students may initiate the internship process by completing an internship proposal form, available from career services. The form must be signed by the faculty sponsor and academic program head. To receive credit for the internship, the student typically must submit the following to her faculty sponsor:
- A journal detailing the intern’s activities and experiences
- A paper in which the student relates the internship experiences recorded in her journal to her academic discipline and to any assigned literature
- A form signed by the onsite supervisor verifying satisfactory completion of the internship
Other activities may be assigned by the sponsor depending on the particular internship the student wishes to undertake.
The student must also request that her supervisor send an evaluation of her work directly to the office of career services, which will also share the evaluation with the faculty sponsor. The deadline to complete the approval process and register for an internship is the course deadline for each session, and one week before the end of the 3-week spring session for summer internships.
Internships provide opportunities for students to explore career possibilities and gain work experience. Because of Sweet Briar’s proximity to Washington, D.C., a large number of students are able to serve as political, legal or public service interns. Students work there and elsewhere for U.S. senators and representatives, attorneys and local political organizations.
Economics and business interns have worked for accounting firms in Washington, brokerage houses in New York City and insurance companies such as GEICO. In recent years, arts management interns have worked at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond, Pearl S. Buck International in Perkasie, Pa., and Children’s Museum of Tacoma, while writers interned at Virginia Business magazine and online literary magazines. Other internships have included resettling refugees at the International Rescue Committee in Charlottesville, Va., collecting data and doing research at the U.S. embassy in Jakarta, learning search engine optimization at WebMD in Atlanta and New York City, working with NAVAIR at both Cherry Point and Patuxent River NAS, and working at Huntington Ingalls Newport News Shipyard.
Students may earn Sweet Briar academic credit for participating in an internship abroad, provided they have faculty supervision and approval. For fall or spring semester internships, students are eligible for a proportionate amount of their Sweet Briar merit scholarships if they are billed by Sweet Briar for the internship credits. Please contact the study abroad office or the financial aid office to learn more about this option.