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During Coronavirus Isolation, KU Continues Career Accelerator Program Digitally

Social distancing did not stop KU from continuing to help international students build their career skills. With online mock interviews, remote internships, and more, CAP sets students up for professional success.

A female KU college student sits at a table in front of a laptop having a practice interview online with a female college counselor on the laptop screen

With social isolation required during the coronavirus pandemic, on-campus advisors working closely with international students at the University of Kansas (KU) have had to get creative. While virtual connections do not replace in-person interactions, digital activities have been essential during this time—and especially with career preparation. 

The team at KU’s Career Accelerator Program (CAP) understands that coronavirus disruptions do not have to delay your future. So, in response to social distancing and remote learning, the KU CAP team promptly moved online—and continues to support current international KU students, no matter where they are in the world. 

All about CAP at KU

At KU, CAP allows first-year international students to learn about possible career options, then prepare for those future careers during their first four semesters. International students also receive continued support through graduation with the help of a CAP manager. 

The KU CAP manager discusses career preparation in KU’s first-year seminar course, meets with students one-on-one to create a tailored career plan while at KU, and plans a number of workshops and career events that students can attend each semester.  

Here are a few ways KU’s CAP manager has kept current students connected online and on track for their careers. Each activity has moved to an all-digital format—so you can still prep for your career, without having to leave your study space!

Mock interviews online at KU

Our CAP manager has held individual mock interviews with students throughout each semester. To encourage students to stay involved and engaged throughout the program, students who are further along in CAP also participate as interviewers. 

For these mock interviews, students being interviewed are teamed with student interviewers based on shared connections like academic major, extracurricular interests, or shared language. 

Student interviewers and interviewees are both trained in the STAR interview method, which stands for Situation, Task, Action, and Result behavioral interview questions. Student interviewees undertake thorough training in the method, watch videos demonstrating how to use it, and then receive an extensive list of typical questions to practice answering. 

Since KU went online during the COVID-19 global pandemic, mock interviews have continued on a global scale. Recent interviews took place during a two-week period in countries including China and South Korea, as well as locally in Lawrence, Kansas. 

Students get interview feedback in written form, with follow-up discussions also available.

KU students work remotely

Living in a digital world makes building your resume achievable, even during these unprecedented times. Several international students at KU secured spring internships or were in the process of interviewing for summer internships when the coronavirus pandemic hit. All of these internships, in a variety of industries, have now gone remote. 

With work moving online, each student intern now meets with their manager virtually and is assigned tasks to complete remotely (similar to an in-office setting). 

Digital CAP workshops

CAP uses a four-semester format that outlines the types of skills and experiences all participating students should learn. In a regular year, the CAP manager would connect students to on-campus career workshops, plus community events and conferences in both Lawrence, Kansas, and Kansas City, Missouri. With all activities moved online, this year’s CAP manager has adapted similar content specifically for international students—and now, most of what students had previously attended in person is available in a virtual setting.

For the summer and each semester afterward, the KU CAP manager has created an individualized online program where each student customizes their experience based on their unique professional development goals. Through a combination of custom selected volunteer positions, seminar/workshop participation, virtual tours, and free online skill building programs (e.g., Coursera, Kahn Academy, LinkedIn Learning, etc.), students create a valuable summer experience, known more formally as the Signature Summer Experience.

The Signature Summer Experience is a great option for students during the summer online semester, and offers a real opportunity for students just beginning their academic degree programs who may not yet have the coursework and/or employment history that companies expect of interns. The Signature Summer Experience, even online, allows students to target specific skills they will need in order to be competitive candidates for internships and professional positions in the future.

Despite social distancing, career activities do not stop. No matter where you are in the world, international students participating in KU CAP can build the professional skills they need to create a bright future. 

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