No university exists on an island. Our beloved Chatfield, for example, is part of the Greater Cincinnati Consortium of Colleges and Universities. This has several benefits, for all sides, as Chatfield students are allowed to take coursework at several fine institutions in the Greater Cincinnati area, and other students (such as those from the Athenaeum) are allowed to transfer their coursework to Chatfield as they pursue an Associate degree.
This doesn’t change once you leave home and move on from Chatfield. Penn, for example, is a part of the Quaker Consortium, which allows students to take courses at some of the finest universities that Philadelphia has to offer. By doing this, students are able to pick up courses that they normally would not be able to take at Penn, accelerating their graduation date, while giving them an experience in higher education outside of our ivory towers.
Another crucial aspect of this lies in networking. While I study at Penn (and wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world), I consider myself lucky to have friends at other top tier universities, such as Columbia and Smith. Not only does this provide me with an opportunity to expand on the resources I use to succeed as a student, it also gives me a chance to spend time working with similar minds, who have similar goals and interests. I have friends that major in fields as diverse as computer science at Columbia, to government and education at Smith.
Networking is key in an ever-changing job market. The skills and demands of employers today are complex and challenging, and so the student must also be willing to work through complex issues while challenging themselves. One of the great benefits of Chatfield is, despite their small size, there are several opportunities to network with fellow students, professors, and key community figures, giving students a unique opportunity to turn connections into future opportunities. As we settle into the doldrums of the middle of spring semester, I encourage my fellow Chatfield students and alumni to reach out and use the resources provided from your network at Chatfield to expand your opportunities, and prepare for the next step. After all, I’d love to see someone from Chatfield join me in Philadelphia. To Chatfield!
-M Earl Smith, AA ‘15