Colleges offer ‘mini mester’ and career boot camps over winter breaks

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The coronavirus pandemic meant college officials and their students suddenly found themselves with a lot of extra time on their well-sanitized hands between semesters this winter. In many cases, colleges and universities completed their fall terms at Thanksgiving…

Colleges offer 'mini mester' and career boot camps over winter breaks

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COLUMBUS, Ohio — The coronavirus pandemic meant college officials and their students suddenly found themselves with a lot of extra time on their well-sanitized hands between semesters this winter. In many cases, colleges and universities completed their fall terms at Thanksgiving or finished what was left of them online, to avoid students traveling and returning to campus between the holiday and the end of the semester. Many are also starting their spring semesters later than usual, putting more distance between the holidays and the start of classes, and in some cases, requiring students to quarantine before returning to campus. For some schools, this means a nearly two-month break between classes. And so the pandemic “mini-mester” was born. In Ohio, Otterbein University is offering an abbreviated “Cardinal +” winter term for students to take online courses to catch up or get ahead. When the leaders at the Westerville university adjusted the fall and spring semester calendars because of the pandemic, they saw a six-week gap and an opportunity, said Kate Lehman, assistant dean for student success at Otterbein.“That’s a great opportunity both for students who we knew might not be getting their normal seasonal jobs, might be home with not a whole lot to do,” she said. “We looked at it as a real opportunity for those students to be able to make progress and do something productive with that time.”Other schools around the country have also introduced new winter term options during the longer-than-normal break, including Indiana University, Iowa State University, Emerson College in Boston, and Jacksonville University in Florida. East of Columbus, Denison University isn’t offering courses for credit this winter, but is using the long break to offer “winter accelerator” options including virtual career boot camps, business consulting and start-up workshops, and mini-courses on topics from immigration and gun control to Texas Hold ‘Em and the Beatles. The winter program is modeled after a similar accelerator program the Granville university offered over the summer, after many students suddenly found themselves without the internships they had planned on, due to the pandemic.“It was devastating for students, for a lot of reasons,” said Denison President Adam Weinberg. “They’ve worked so hard to line these internships up. …  We really wanted to fill this need that kind of emerged quickly for our students.”In addition to working part-time as a customer service representative at U-Haul over his long break, Denison student Davis Keen recently completed one of Denison’s virtual career boot camps specifically for juniors. The three days of online sessions covered resume and cover letter tips, networking, and question and answer sessions with business recruiters. The internship search is a big part of Keen’s junior year, he said.“Why not take advantage of this time to get a little bit of extra motivation for my career search?” he said.

All data is taken from the source: http://usatoday.com
Article Link: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/education/2021/01/04/colleges-offer-classes-covid-prompts-longer-winter-break/4126710001/

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