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Students Weigh Job Options as Offer Deadline Approaches

As the Thursday deadline for accepting full-time job offers from many summer internship programs approaches, Harvard’s Office of Career Services has faced an influx of conflicted students debating their postgraduate plans.

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Harvard's Office of Career Services on Dunster Street.

For students who obtained those internships through the Campus Interview Program, a division of OCS, the deadline marks a decision that has been months, if not years, in the making.

Students weighing whether to accept their summer offers may expand their job search through the Campus Interview Program’s senior recruiting process that takes place throughout the fall. That cycle helps connect students with employers through interviews and job fairs and represents a variety of sectors.

“We have over 200 employers who want to participate in a structured program to hire our students,” said Robin E. Mount, the director of career, research, and international opportunities. “We conduct about 6,000 interviews on campus.”

Deborah A. Carroll, the associate director of employer relations and operations at OCS, said the office bolsters its advising over the past two months. It has additional drop-in hours for seniors throughout September “specifically to help with the traffic,” she said.

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According to Carroll, most students have been proactive in the decision making process.

“We do see that for a lot of students come October either they’ve already decided that they are already accepting or they’ve already decided that they’re moving on in some way,” Carroll said.

Mount similarly said only a small minority have continued to weigh their options up until the deadline. “I would say there are some students that run it out all the way to Oct. 29, but it’s not that many,” Mount said.

For students accepting offers through their summer internship, the process of securing a full-time offer often begins during their junior spring, when employers come to campus for summer internship hiring. When students take a summer job, they compete for a full-time offer, said Marissa L. Long ’08, the assistant director of the Campus Interview Program and employer relations.

Despite the network of resources from Harvard, dozens of students still experience stress throughout the process. “It’s especially stressful junior year, because there are a lot of concentration requirements one has to fulfill, growing club responsibilities, and on top of that, this job search,” Elizabeth Garcia ’16 said.

Garcia, who applied for internships through OCS and has accepted a full-time position at Barclays for after graduation, said OCS is a valuable resource to students who are looking for internships. “It’s a long process, but I’d say it’s pretty well organized. They have everything in a central system,” she said.

For juniors thinking about the summer internship process and later job offers, OCS recommends keeping an eye on deadlines. “Our approach is to tell students to be an active decision maker and not run it until the end,” Long said.

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