Tuesday, June 22, 2010


I will not rant. Points made by previous posters are valid, but I will take a different approach. CWRU has a lot of resources available to undergraduate students. Many of these resources are buried and difficult to find. This post will outline several of the things I found helpful while dealing with esoteric rules, bureaucracy, etc.

Use the career search resources. Use CareerLink. The Career Center Guide is also a fantastic resource for resume writing. When searching for a job start early and keep searching. Companies often do their searching at the last minute.

The co-op program Career Link equivalent is called Simplicity. Many of the listings are not for co-ops but internships and full-time employment. It is useful even if you are not a co-op student.

Do work study. The work study program is good. Sometimes you can even get paid for undergraduate research instead of getting measly credit hours.

Do undergraduate research. Find a professor researching something interesting and someone to fund you. The SOURCE office lists a number of resources to get funding.

Use the research tools. KSL has a long list of quality research tools in many different subjects. People in the real world get stuck with $25 for a journal article. The CWRU network allows instant access to many articles from quality publishers like Elsevier and databases like PubMed. As a research engineer, I have found three especially good tools in Knovel, SciFinder, and the OhioLink Electronic Journal Center.

Watch the money. While money is not everything, but it is definitely something. Know how much you're spending on tuition, housing, food, etc. If you are on student loans, have a plan to pay them back. Be careful in assigning value, or lack thereof, your prospective degree. The way to assign value to your prospective degree is to talk to people who did not go to CWRU.

Deal with the bureaucracy. There is too much, but it's still there. Things will not fall into place. You have to put them there and make sure they stay.

  • Consult SIS. Be glad you don't use SOLAR.
  • Read the student handbook. At least skim the relevant sections. The fine print is more reliable than anyone's second-hand advice.
  • Talk to your adviser. If you adviser isn't being helpful find a different faculty member. Some departments have an unofficial faculty member who is the go-to guru for undergraduate issues.
  • Talk to a dean. Some deans are more helpful than others. Ask other students who they've had good experiences with. The deans' contact info, which is surprisingly hard to find, can be found here.