Christendom College prepares students for a life of service and success, both through its liberal arts curriculum and through the career-oriented classes that are now integrated into the college’s curriculum. These newer courses, part of the Education for a Lifetime Program and taught by the various members of the college’s faculty and staff, give students the practical knowledge and skills they need to rise above their peers after graduation.
Under the acronym ELP, this program, directed by vice president for academic affairs Greg Townsend, integrates real-world skill building into the Christendom curriculum. Vice president for enrollment Tom McFadden assists with the designing of the curriculum for the program and teaches it, along with director of career services Kristin Stephens, and others.
“Although students do not primarily choose Christendom as their school of choice so that they can get the best job, and to make the most money, the college certainly gives them the tools they need to succeed,” says McFadden. “Christendom graduates get involved in every career field possible – marketing and education, medicine and business, architecture and software design, computer programming and event planning, and so much more.”
Grounded in a strong liberal arts background, students at Christendom benefit from the addition of two unique 1-credit courses that are part of the college’s core curriculum and required for graduation. These ELP courses give Christendom students access to the tools needed for confidence and success post-graduation.
Each year, students attend classes and lectures on life skills and entering the working world. Freshmen begin by discovering more about the value of a liberal arts education and discerning how their education will help them achieve short-term and long-term career goals. Sophomores explore careers that align with their interests, temperaments, and personalities; research summer jobs and internships to build their resumes; and learn how to tailor resumes and cover letters to specific jobs.
The dynamic curriculum is constantly being improved to meet student needs. For example, juniors now take classes on building credit so that they can get started early on creating a good credit score. Recently, Christendom’s Life on Tap alumni networking program has also been integrated into ELP. Students are required to attend two Life on Tap presentations per year to learn more about the various career paths open to them as alumni of Christendom.
“I found ELP to be highly beneficial in making me aware of the things I need to know before I graduate, such as credit building or writing resumes and cover letters,” says junior Isabella Reilly. “I have already used the knowledge gained from ELP to apply to jobs and internships and I know that I will continue to use what I’ve learned in the future.”
Christendom’s ELP gives students the tools necessary to learn even more skills outside the classroom through a subscription to LinkedIn and LinkedIn Learning. Juniors create a LinkedIn profile as part of their coursework in order to begin building connections for future job searching. The LinkedIn subscription also comes with access to LinkedIn Learning, a platform for online classes and seminars on a wide array of subjects. Seniors must complete LinkedIn Learning courses on Microsoft PowerPoint and Microsoft Excel but are free to pursue their interests in other subjects, such as graphic design, music theory, or data modeling.
“Many current seniors – 81% of whom said they benefitted from the ELP program, up from 67% last year – have been surprised to be in prime positions to be offered a variety of good jobs after graduation,” remarks McFadden. “Many of these students give some credit to the ELP program for giving them the tools they need to succeed. Each year, the numbers rise, and the level of student satisfaction with the career development office’s offerings increases.”
Christendom will continue to develop its ELP program to meet the needs of 21st century students, keeping them grounded in the classical education that provides the critical thinking skills integral to any future career. Equipped with the tools to make a positive impact in the workplace and public square—where the witness to truth is most crucial—Christendom alumni will continue to shape a brighter future.
Contributed by Riley Damitz (’20).