The Office of Alumni Relations has done an effective job keeping the alumni community connected. However, one weakness in the past has been the difficulty of fostering communication between alumni and undergraduates. Although the Career Center and Alumni Relations have hosted events – such as alumni-networking nights both on the River Campus and in major metropolitan areas, along with the externship programs -‘ until recently, there has been a lack of a formal communication channel.

The Career Center and Alumni Relations have begun to address this problem with the launch of the online Rochester Career Advisory Network, which has an easy-to-use interface. Its search engine allows students to find alumni all over the country and away from major cities – where many of UR’s networking off campus events are held. Also, students who are interested in smaller fields now have the tools at their disposal to access alumni.

At the same time, RCAN takes into account the privacy of alumni. It protects personal contact information and allows alumni to specify which students they would like to advise. These conditions for alumni are important in allowing undergraduates to secure concrete career advice.

What’s likely to prevent widespread student participation is the multi-step process to register for RCAN. The orientation sessions, although designed to educate the undergraduate body about the Web site, could discourage undergraduates from seeking access to the network. However, these measures are necessary to ensure undergraduates are educated both about the site and the etiquette of networking.

Other schools at UR, such as the William E. Simon School of Business Administration, have maintained lists of alumni for their students for years. The RCAN now gives undergraduates that same opportunity to access alumni- a growing pool of 10,000 graduates. Increased access to alumni can only help proactive students searching for career guidance and jobs – particularly in a discouraging job market.

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