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Career Services increases staff to accommodate student body

Career Services, an area of the University that has been understaffed for some time, is about to expand considerably, according to director Beverly Hamilton-Chandler.

The University Priorities Committee has allocated funding that will allow Career Services to hire two new counselors and one additional administrative staff member, she said.


"This is a tremendous benefit for us," Hamilton-Chandler said, adding that the hiring process for the new staff is slated to begin in March.

"We've made substantial changes since I've been here," she said. "However, we did not have sufficient counseling staff."

The Career Services office currently has seven employees, she explained.

Hamilton-Chandler noted that her department has the smallest staff of all the career counseling services in the Ivy League. The University Career Services office has one counselor for every 2,513 students, she said.

By contrast, Harvard has approximately one counselor for every 600 students. Brown has one for every 900 students and Yale has one for every 1,000 students, according to PriCom secretary and associate provost Joann Mitchell, who cited figures from the proposal Hamilton-Chandler submitted last summer requesting more staff.

The Career Services staff increase represents more than a 25 percent increase in the size of the office, Hamilton-Chandler said. The ratio of counselors to students will now be one-to-1,200, she noted.

Wait times


In addition to the University's comparatively poor student-to-counselor ratio, PriCom also was persuaded by the length of time students had to wait for an appointment at the office. Students sometimes had to wait as many as three weeks to see a counselor, Mitchell said.

Initially, the Career Services office tried to compensate for its staff's small size by providing students with as much job-related information as possible prior to their appointments, Hamilton-Chandler said. In the past few years, the office has been able to put much of its information online, she added.

"We used technology to address some of our deficiencies," she said.

While Hamilton-Chandler's proposal included other requests in addition to the staff increase, PriCom opted to fund the office's top priority, Mitchell noted.

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"Additional staff makes it easier to have individual appointments. Individual meetings are the core of what we do," Hamilton-Chandler said.

With its larger staff, one of the office's new goals is to provide better service to underclassmen and graduate students, Hamilton-Chandler said, adding that Career Services may offer some workshops for underclassmen.

"We want to create the kind of office that students should and could expect at a place like Princeton," Mitchell said.

Dean of the College Nancy Malkiel echoed Hamilton-Chandler's sentiments. "Students will see a measurable improvement in access to counselors, quality and timeliness of advice and programming," said Malkiel, whose office oversees Career Services.

Despite Mitchell's assertions about the waiting period students had to face before appointments, some upperclassmen said they have not encountered scheduling problems at the office.

"I found that it was easy to get appointments," Helen Marrow '00 said, adding that she only had to wait two days.

Noemi Garcia '00 also said she did not have difficulty arranging an appointment with Career Services. "It only took a day to get an appointment, but I went during finals," she said.