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Post-grad bridge programs provide career focus, leg up in job market

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With Commencement now upon us, most seniors are thinking in earnest about the job market, graduate school, and their next steps into the real world. One option often overlooked is the array of post-graduate, pre-professional programs that can serve as a stepping stone from your college experience to a potential field of interest.

These "bridge" programs are typically aimed at graduating seniors and recent college grads and provide a mix of classroom work and hands-on experience in a specific industry. Many are offered over the summer but some are in-semester as well.  They are lower cost than a full degree program - many provide certificates - and therefore lower risk to the student exploring a field of potential interest. Most are taught by practitioners in the field and include some type of career fair or other career preparation component, both of which provide an important leg up in today's competitive job market.

Here's a look at and links to five such programs in different fields:

Tuck Program.jpgBUSINESS
Tuck Business Bridge Program
The Tuck Business Bridge Program is provides "fast-track to mastery of business basics" offered by Dartmouth College's Tuck School of Business. It is a four-week, total-immersion program for rising juniors, seniors, and recent graduates of arts and sciences colleges, regardless of major, thinking of entering the world of business.

SupremeCourt_Crop_655x346.JPGGOVERNMENT & POLITICS
American University's Washington Semester Graduate Gateway Program

American University's Washington (DC) Semester Graduate Gateway Program is a hands-on experience that includes two graduate level courses and an internship. The program is "the perfect opportunity for you to ease your way into the advanced degree process and test out a potential career path."

Columbia Publishing-Tina Brown.jpgPUBLISHING
Columbia Publishing Course

The Columbia Publishing Course (CPC) calls itself "the shortest graduate school in the country." For over 60 years the course - the first such program in the country and housed in the country's publishing capital, New York City -- has been training young men and women for careers in the field. CPC graduates can be found at major magazines and publishing houses across the nation. For those considering a career in book, magazine, or digital media publishing, the CPC's immersive summer program provides exposure to current issues in publishing, access to top publishing professionals, hands-on publishing experience, and an entrée into the publishing world.

MIT Summer Research Program.jpgSCIENCE
MIT Lincoln Laboratory - Summer Research Program

Since 1975, MIT's Lincoln Laboratory has offered undergraduate and graduate students "this unique opportunity to gain hands-on experience in a leading-edge research environment." Students will be supervised by Laboratory technical staff on a day-to-day basis. The program runs from early June through mid-August.

Boston start-up Logo_128x381.pngENTREPRENEURSHIP
Boston Start-up School

On the newer end of the spectrum, the independent Boston Startup School (no university affiliation) "allows young professionals to learn the skills needed to have an immediate and positive impact on the startup they join." Students work on real startup challenges and will have an opportunity to meet local startup companies looking for talent to help them grow. The program is an immersive, six-week long full-time experience that educates participants on startup culture, team dynamics, and one of four in-demand skill sets.

There are many more such programs in a range of different fields, all worthy of exploration. The Simmons Library's Career Guide to "Post Graduate Pre-Professional Programs" provides links to and information about the above programs and many others in Art & Literature, Business & Finance, Communications & Media, Education, Government, Law & Nonprofits, Environment, and more. Check them all out here

For more information and assistance, contact the Beatley Library's career resources librarian and/or the Career Education Center.

Photos/Logo: Courtesy of programs