At Chapman, you have access to career support at every step of the way. At the College of Performing Arts (CoPA), you are already launching your career by pursuing training and education that will help you develop your craft and make strong connections with a supportive community. Your career is not something that suddenly starts the day after you graduate college—you are already making career decisions that will help you reach your long-term goals. There are things you can do at every step of the way in college to make sure you are prepared for a successful transition out of college when you graduate. Read on for some suggestions of what to do and what to ask for everyone from first-year students to alumni!


First-Years: Be Curious!

As a first-year student, your priority should be getting adjusted to college life and getting familiar with all of the campus resources available to you. Now is the time to be open-minded and curious about all of the career possibilities that lie ahead of you: take classes that spark your interest, get involved with student organizations, and attend campus events. It’s also a great time to get familiar with the performing arts scene in Orange County and L.A. (especially if you’re new to the area)! Read up on what’s happening in the area and see as many performances as you can—both on campus and within the broader community.

What to ask your Career Advisor: What career pathways exist that suit my strengths, interests, and values? What steps do I need to take to achieve my long-term career goals?


Sophomores: Gain Experience!

Now that you’re familiar with your campus and your community it’s a good idea to start thinking about internship opportunities. Most internships in the performing arts are in arts administration—this is invaluable experience for all CoPA majors, even if your primary career goal is to be a performer. These experiences allow you to cultivate important workplace skills that will help you get a day job or develop a complementary career down the road. They’re also great ways to meet new people and get involved in the professional community you want to be part of! The two summers between sophomore and senior year are key times to gain some hands-on experience in areas that will support your career development, so start thinking about it early.

What to ask your Career Advisor: Why should I consider doing an internship? What internship programs should I be looking at? Do my application materials tell my unique career story in the best way possible?


Juniors: Make Connections!

Your artistic community is one of the most important tools in your career development. Networking is all about community-building. This takes time, so start thinking about how to cultivate connections within your artistic community before you graduate. You already have the seeds of a strong network in your peers and faculty at CoPA—now is the time to start stretching outward to meet and learn from more people in your industry at large.

What to ask your Career Advisor: Who is already in my professional/artistic community and who do I need to add? What is informational interviewing, and how can it help me?


Seniors: Get Organized!

As you approach graduation, this is the year to make sure you have a clear plan for how to navigate the transition out of college. You can’t control the future, but you can prepare yourself by knowing what to expect after graduation and having a plan that will help you make career decisions that keep you on the path toward your personal definition of success. This is the year to make sure your professional documents and web presence are all in order, that you can identify the key members of your support team, and that you have a clear vision for where you’re trying to go and how to get there.

What to ask your Career Advisor: Do I have everything I need in my career-readiness toolbox? What are SMART goals, and how can they help me?


Alumni: Fine-Tune Your Career!

Chapman University is your career connection for life, so even after you graduate, your access to career services is free and forever! Continue to take advantage of job postings on Handshake, career events, and one-on-one advising appointments with Career Educators and Career Advisors. Your career is a journey, not a destination, and you will always have decisions to make along the path. Don’t hesitate to reach out for help along the way, whether you’re a recent graduate making your first career moves, or you’ve been out of college for a while and are considering a career shift. We can help!

What to ask your Career Advisor: Am I still on track to get to where I want to go? I need to make an adjustment to my career plans –  where should I start?


Make an appointment with your CoPA Career Advisor, Emma Trammell, on Handshake (select “Program-Specific Guidance”) or by emailing