12/18/2017 by Carney Sandoe Staff | Landing the Job
College Students’ Top Questions Answered
We just finished up a busy fall recruitment season where we visited more than 60 of the nation's top colleges, universities, and consortiums looking for the best and brightest prospective teachers. From Amherst to Yale, Boston to Washington, D.C., and everywhere in between, we met with undergrad and graduate students who love what they study, are passionate about working with children, and are excited about the opportunity to take what they love and bring it into a K-12 classroom setting.
During the interviews, we received some good questions related to our process and how we work with college students, so we figured we'd share them here in the hopes that they may help any students who are considering applying to CS&A.
How does CS&A “match” candidates with schools?
In addition to the detailed questions we ask in our application and use to build your profile with us, we take a highly-personalized approach to our work with candidates. Before we begin to show you job opportunities, we spend a good amount of time reviewing your file and documents and getting to know more about you, your background, and the goals of your job search. It is customary for you to have an initial consulting phone conversation with your Placement Associate, and additional phone calls and lots of email communication can be expected throughout your time working with us. We take the time to get to know you personally, beyond your résumé, so we can understand how to find you a job that is a great fit.
We do the same thing with the schools we work with. Each fall, we visit the campuses of over 100 of our client schools (or have longer phone calls with hiring contacts from the schools who we don't visit that year) to gain a deep understanding of the school's environment, community, and what kind of candidate would thrive at the school. Then, using what we know about you we work to present you with opportunities that are tailored to your goals and qualifications, as well as to the criteria the schools have listed with us. Your feedback is important, and if you don't think the positions we show you match what you're looking for, let us know and we'll work to fine-tune our work to your needs.
What is the timeline for applying and for the process once I've been accepted? When will I see opportunities coming in?
We accept applications year round. However, because the independent school hiring season begins in January, we encourage you to apply as soon as you can in the first semester of your senior year. This way, you have time to build your file with us, write your personal statement, and gather letters of recommendation so come January, your file is complete and ready to be shown to schools that list positions with us.
Our busy season runs from mid-January to May, and each school has a slightly different interview and hiring timeline. That being said, the bulk of our work with you will take place during these months, so if you come on board as a candidate in November, don't be concerned that you aren't seeing any opportunities right away.
Are there opportunities specific or saved for students just graduating from college?
Many schools have internship or fellowship positions that are reserved for students right out of college, and will often hire our candidates as either a general intern who works with different grade levels in different departments, or as a subject-specific intern. Often we get asked if these are worthwhile positions, and the answer is a resounding ‘yes'! Candidates in these positions usually begin by observing classes across a few disciplines. Gradually, they are given more responsibility by teaching independently a few times a week or co-teaching with a veteran teacher who can show you the ropes. Sometimes interns are also asked to take on extra-curricular activities as part of their role, such as coaching or running a club or student group. Mentoring is an added bonus of an internship or fellowship, and candidates are often matched with a mentor at the school to help work on lesson plans and acclimate to school culture, among other things.
Once we are candidates, do you help prepare us for interviews?
Absolutely! Your Placement Associate will be more than happy to guide you through what a typical interview might look like and what sort of items you should have prepared. We also have a ton of resources on our blog that cover everything from how to dress at an interview to how to prepare a sample lesson if the school asks for one. We're here to coach through each step of the job interview process.
What happens at your hiring conferences?
Our hiring conferences, which are free to active CS&A candidates, allow current CS&A candidates and hiring schools to connect with one another on a day of 30-minute consecutive interview slots. As a candidate, this gives you the opportunity to meet with multiple schools in one location in a short period of time. Each interview is an opportunity to “get your foot in the door” at a school, and the goal is often to acquire an invitation to interview on-campus. These events are also a good opportunity for you to meet face-to-face with your Placement Associate to discuss your job search. As an added bonus, the day usually includes some type of panel discussion or presentation related to job searching and independent schools.
FORUM/Diversity, which is approaching quickly in January, is a two-day event of hiring and professional development. Our FORUM/Boston and LINK@NAIS events are national in scope and feature schools from across the country, whereas our regional events (Los Angeles, New York City, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C.) typically only include schools from the greater area where they take place.
Can I continue to use CS&A after I have accepted a position with a school?
Of course! Think of us as your lifelong team and sounding board for your entire career. While the relationship you have with your Placement Associate tapers off once you sign a contract with a school and begin your new role, you are a candidate with us for life and can reach back out when the time comes for you to find your next opportunity. You always have access to your profile with us and can update it when you're ready to come back on board as an active candidate.
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