It is no secret that Baruch College is a commuter school, with close to 90 percent of undergraduates commuting to and from school and living at home with their parents. This commuter-style campus may sometimes get rid of the sense of community.
Going to a school like Baruch does not provide the same experience that students who attend a SUNY college upstate would get. One of the most obvious differences is the lack of school-owned housing available.
According to Starr’s website, between 2014 and 2015, 6,267 students have visited the center, over 10,000 students signed up for on-campus events, employers and peer mentors conducted 1,715 on-campus interviews and students submitted 178,789 job applications. This data is very impressive, especially since in a commuter school like Baruch, some may think that most students would not be bothered to take advantage of this invaluable service. It is good to know this is not the case.
The staff members who run the resume reviews are excellent. They are experienced, provide thoughtful insight and are encouraging.
Mock interviews are also a great service. They help students get over their nerves and make sure that they are well-prepared for their interviews. Starr’s website makes it easy to find jobs and internships for which students qualify. It is very similar to searching for jobs on LinkedIn or Indeed.com, which is a superb plus. A task like this should definitely not be overly complicated. Applying to a job or internship using Starr is a simple one-step process. Scheduling appointments can also be done from the website. The added benefit is that students are able to select a certain adviser using Starr Search.
The profile that students can build on the website for themselves is also useful. Allowing students to upload their resumes and cover letters for easy access and add links to personal websites or LinkedIn pages are necessary tools for success.
With that said, Starr Search resembles another LinkedIn account, a feature for which Baruch deserves to be applauded. The profile really helps students organize documents and applications, which is one of the hardest parts of job hunting. There are so many things to keep track of and it is easy to get overwhelmed, so it is vital that Starr Search continues this.
Unfortunately, some problems and shortcomings hinder Starr, despite its accolade-worthy features. Appointments can be cancelled due to the adviser not being in on that specific day. This would not be as big of an issue if students received an email letting them know, but student do not get notified in advance of this change. Students only find out when they arrive. In instances of such change, Starr does offer the option to see another adviser, but this may not be preferable. It is a small issue, but it is nonetheless annoying.
Also, the area where resumes are reviewed is a shared room, which means that other resume reviews or services may be happening simultaneously. This can be distracting and some people may want more privacy with their cover letters or resumes.
The larger problem is that the school does not push or emphasize Starr as much as it can. Transfer students, for example, are bombarded with information on signing up for classes, getting a functioning Baruch email account and learning about all of the services the school offers. With all of this going on, Starr seems to get lost in the shuffle. Students are often introduced to Starr through an email, which can easily be overlooked as they try to adjust to a new school.
Baruch does offer an optional, zero-credit Transfer Seminar, where students are introduced to Starr in a more memorable and appropriate way. However, many students are not going to take that class since it is optional and does not count toward their degree.
Freshmen may be completely lost and they also may be too busy trying to do well and acclimate to college. They may put Starr off and eventually be behind the students who take more initiative. This is a problem. A service as important as Starr should have a lot more focus on it from the get-go.
Starr also needs to be more proactive. Sending out emails to remind students of walk-in hours and events is nice, but those actions constitute the bare minimum. Starr’s website lists all of these great events that can really help students get a jump-start on their careers, but it seems like these events are barely advertised or advertised poorly.
Having prep days before internship and job fairs would also be a major benefit. Starr should help students prepare a short introduction and decide which specific companies they should prioritize and visit.
These are all fixable problems that do not detract from the service. However, if these issues are ironed out, Starr would be even better.