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Virtual CDO FAQs

The Career Development Office is open and providing resources, appointments, and events virtually during Fall 2020. Please see below for a list of commonly asked questions. Have a question not answered here? Email us at

How will I have access to CDO staff? Can I still make an appointment?

CDO will continue to be accessible for video and phone appointments.

Students: Schedule appointments online via Handshake.
Alumnae/i: Email our Alumnae/i Career Counselor, Deidre Sepp, at with questions or to schedule an appointment.

Extended appointment times are available for those in different time zones. If you have any difficulty scheduling appointments in Handshake, simply email with your availability and someone will get back to you. 
*Note: Zoom is our default video appointment platform; we are also available via Google Hangouts. When you make the appointment you will select “Appointment medium” and select your preferred video platform. Your counselor will send you a video appointment link via Google Calendar. If you prefer to speak by phone, please include the best number to reach you in your appointment request. Your counselor will contact you at the start of your appointment


Will there be any online drop-ins where I can ask questions and get my resume reviewed?

We are offering a 15-minute appointment type for Quick Questions -- schedule on Handshake. Resumes and other documents can be reviewed via email. Send any questions or documents that need review (resumes, cover letters, application essays, etc.) to in an editable format (eg, MS Word, Google Doc, or Pages) and they will be forwarded to a member of our counseling staff.


Will there be any workshops, information sessions, or alumnae/i panels this semester?

Yes! We are planning for a number of virtual workshops, employer and grad school info sessions, and other events this semester. Check the Handshake calendar for details!


I wasn't able to attend a CDO-hosted virtual event. Is it possible to get a recording?

Yes! We are recording all CDO-hosted alumnae/i career chats, panels, information sessions, and workshops so that students who are not available at the time they are offered can access them. View the recordings here. Additionally, if you want to be connected to any of the featured alumnae/i and any of the resources they may recommend in these recordings, please reach out to Jannette Swanson at


Will I be able to leave campus to take a graduate/professional entrance exam?

Depending on what types of graduate/professional schools you are preparing for and the exam(s) needed, online options may be available that would allow you to test without leaving campus. Currently, the LSAT, GRE, and GMAT are all offering test-takers the ability to test online and remotely-proctored. The Campus Activities Office is working to identify quiet spaces on campus that may be reserved as an alternative to testing in your room on campus. Only the MCAT requires an in-person administration. 

Depending on your timeline for applying to graduate and professional school programs and application deadlines, non-medical school applicants may wish to consider the following options:

  • Taking an online, remotely-proctored test at home, either before you come to campus in August or after you leave in November

  • Taking an in-person test at home, if available, either before you come to campus in August or after you leave in November

In-person testing options for the GRE, in particular, vary depending on the test and geographic location, and appear to be limited in many instances.

For advice about when and how to test, reach out to the Career Development Office (law and graduate school -, the Office of Fellowships and Pre-health Advising (medical school -, or your faculty advisor.

To reserve a quiet space on campus, contact Campus Activities at

To request permission to leave campus to take a graduate admission test, fill out this form

Note: Please include your confirmed test date and test center location in your request. Requests to leave campus for testing needs will be reviewed every Tuesday so plan accordingly. Requests to leave campus for tests where there is a virtual/online testing option are not likely to be approved. We want to minimize students needing to leave campus as much as possible in order to keep them and our community safe. Students are welcome to email Erika Pappas, Director of Case Management, with any questions at

See below for more information about each test and current options.


ETS is currently offering an online GRE At Home option. At home administrations are currently available around the clock, seven days a week through the end of December 2020, with appointments available as early as 24 hours after you register.
The GRE is also administered at local testing centers. Individuals can sign up for the in-person GRE in Poughkeepsie. However, there does not seem to be too many available openings in Poughkeepsie through mid-October (about two seats per available day). There are additional centers with available seats this fall, around 50+ miles away.

LSAC is currently offering an online option for the August and October LSAT administrations. The August LSAT-Flex, which will be administered (online and remotely proctored) during the week of Saturday, August 29, to Friday, September 4. The October LSAT-Flex will be administered the week starting Saturday, October 3. Most test takers will test on Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday, or Thursday, with a small number of tests occurring Wednesday based on specific remote proctoring requirements. LSAC has not announced their plans for continued online "Flex" options after this administration. At present, a traditional administration remains scheduled for Saturday, November 14. There is a local (non-Vassar) Poughkeepsie-area test center available, but their website does not specify the host campus.

The GMAT has an online remotely proctored option, GMAT™ Online. GMAT™ Online exam appointments have been extended through December 31, 2020, Like the GRE, the GMAT is available in-person at testing centers (Pearson). 

MCAT does not have an online option; would be required to take the test off-campus. 



What should I do if I am currently applying to or interviewing for internships or post-grad jobs?

Keep applying and interviewing! Many employers are now holding online or virtual interviews. The situation is rapidly changing and we don’t know when hiring will be back to normal, so prepare for multiple possibilities. Additionally, use tools like VassarNet and LinkedIn to continue to reach out to people within your network (and the Vassar network); many will do what they can to be helpful and may have the most ability to create creative, remote opportunities in the face of uncertainty.


Can I reserve a quiet space for my virtual job/internship/grad school interview?

Yes! To reserve a quiet space on campus for your interview, contact Campus Activities at

Whether you are interviewing from an alternate space on campus or your own dorm room/bedroom, check out these tips for How to Look Better on Zoom.

Consider a mock interview to prepare and get feedback! Schedule on Handshake or by emailing


How can I get experience if I’m at home?

This is a complicated time and both students and employers are having to adapt and be creative. Check out the Making the Most of Your Summer: Choose Your Own Adventure for ideas and resources on what to do this summer. Consider opportunities to learn and pick up new skills virtually; LinkedIn Learning is a great tool for learning a new software program and so much more. Micro-Internships are paid short term projects you can do right now. In partnership with Parker Dewey, a platform where 100’s of companies and non-profits go to hire students for short-term (5-40 hours) paid projects, the Career Development Office has arranged for Vassar to have its own portal where alumni, parents and friends can add their own paid projects. This is a great way for you to gain valuable work experience and earn some money starting right now. Sign up for your account here. You can also make an appointment with a staff member to discuss your situation and brainstorm ideas.


What is happening with the job market? Will entry-level hiring and internships be affected?

We are keeping a close watch on how COVID-19 is impacting job and internship prospects for our students. Students, job seekers and employers have begun to compile information about organizations and their hiring statuses here: (more focused on full-time hiring) (more focused on internships)

Do you have an update from an employer on your internship or job? Please share with the CDO here!


I have already accepted a full-time or internship position. How should I check in with my employer on the status of my position?

If you have accepted an opportunity for a full-time or internship position, check in via email; a sample message is included below.

Sample email:

Dear (insert name of supervisor or HR contact here),

I hope that this finds you and your team at (insert name of employer here) safe and well in these uncertain and unprecedented times. Given these challenging circumstances, I am writing to see if you are able to share with me any insight on my position as (insert position title here) for this summer. Would you be able to provide me with an update on the current status of my position at this point in time? I would greatly appreciate any information that you can offer, so that I can continue to prepare accordingly. 

I remain committed and excited about the opportunity to work with you this summer and look forward to hearing from you soon. Thank you in advance for your consideration.


(insert your full name here)


Can I still reach out to alumnae/i for networking during this time?

Yes! The Vassar network is brimming with goodwill, and we know alumnae/i will help wherever and whenever they can. VassarNet, LinkedIn, and the Alum Directory are all great resources. When you reach out, do so with the recognition that it is a challenging time for all of us and not everyone may be in a position to help. Offer to reconnect at a later date. Focus on gathering information about how an industry has been affected by COVID-19, rather than asking for a job or internship. Below is a sample message you can use as a guide:

Dear [First Name],

I am currently a [insert class year] at Vassar College majoring in [insert major(s)], and I noticed your profile on [VassarNet / LinkedIn / Alumnae/i Directory] when I was looking for alumnae/i that are working in the [insert industry]. My primary reason for reaching out is to seek your insight and advice as I seek to navigate my [job / internship] search in the [insert industry] in light of COVID-19.

I recognize that the COVID-19 scenario is fluid, and what might be accurate today could quickly change by tomorrow. I welcome any insight you might have about how your field is adapting to this ongoing situation, whether [jobs / internships] might be available in the near future, or if any remote opportunities may be in development. I am also exploring creative ways that I might be able to make the most of my summer if COVID-19 prevents me from being able to secure an opportunity right away.

Would you be available for a 30 minute informational interview so that I can learn more about how you and your organization have been impacted by COVID-19 and get your advice for my upcoming summer? I’d be happy to connect by Zoom, Google Hangouts, Facetime, or the phone -- whatever is most convenient for you. I also understand that now might not be a good time; if that’s the case, I am happy to reconnect at a later date.

Thank you in advance for your consideration.




Can an employer rescind my offer?

The short answer is yes. Most positions are “at-will” and you or the employer can change your employment situation at any time. Early reports suggest that some employers are freezing new hiring or cancelling internship programs. If you received a contract or written job offer, consult it closely. If you have specific questions, log in to Handshake and make an appointment with a staff member to discuss your situation.


What other resources are available?

There is no doubt that these are challenging and stressful times for all of us. The Vassar Counseling Service has compiled helpful information for students on- and off-campus to access mental health resources. Additionally, Vassar Counseling Service subscribes to an on-line program called T.A.O. that provides self-help modules (anyone with a Vassar email can log on and access these tools). EmpowerWork is a nonprofit founded by Vassar alumna Jaime-Alexis Fowler '08 that provides free, anonymous support for tough work situations. Anyone in the U.S. can immediately connect with a trained peer counselor via text or web chat to feel heard, supported, and if needed, connected to resources.