Center for Professional Excellence

First LEAP

What is First Leap?

First LEAP is a program designed for all first year students who have a desire for early career preparation and exploration. Since its inception in 2008, FIrst LEAP combines both classroom and professional site observations based on each student's academic interest. The program is highly competitive and each of the 25-30 students who are admitted has been through an interview process to ensure they are a good fit and committed to the five day experience. We currently hold First LEAP at the conclusion of the academic year in May; the first and last days are spent in the classroom, while the other three days are for student observations.

The initial classroom portion involves interactive exercises and guest speakers in an effort to engage students in the career preparation and exploration process. We cover core values, marketing one's self, and networking, just to name a few. We also spend a significant amount of time preparing participants for their site experiences; proper dress, etiquette, professional expectations, and helping students design questions to ask while on site.

The three days of site experiences allow for organizations to have the flexibility to accommodate a student that is most conducive to a site's schedule. Often a student will have the opportunity to experience more than one site, particularly if they are interested in a broad field (i.e. marketing, business administration, non-profit, etc.).

On the last day of First LEAP, students come back for a short time and share their experience at their sites, discuss the overall impact of First LEAP in their career exploration and preparation process, and complete a feedback survey for the First Leap Staff. Members of the staff and faculty will also speak about the "sophomore experience," as well as other opportunities for students to develop as individuals and continue building on their self-formation in accordance with the mission of Elmhurst College.

For more information on this highly competitive program, contact Ingrid Becton.

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