Skip to main content

The Aspire Program

About Aspire

The Aspire Program™ at Carthage College is a comprehensive four-year career preparation program that helps students develop a dynamic approach to goal-setting and life skill-building. Students will own their ability to be lifelong learners and impactful contributors in the world, and to recover when plans don’t go as expected. 

New in Fall 2019, The Aspire Program builds on Carthage’s strong history of providing students with the skills they need to succeed. The new program blends existing and new resources to enable all students to build and hone a clear, guided path for their future.

An Early Start


The Aspire Program is a four-year program. All first-year students begin career development planning from their first days on campus. Enrollment in the program is automatic. There is no extra cost, and because program elements are built into the Carthage experience, there’s no extra stress. 

Program Goals


The Aspire Program aims to help students from all majors develop these key skills:

  • Develop a sense of self — their skills, values, vocation/calling, and interests.
  • Identify opportunities to use their skills in the world (for example, in internships, jobs, or service activities).
  • Take initiative and demonstrate creativity, entrepreneurial skills, leadership, and resilience.
  • Learn professional norms for desired industries in order to present themselves well and secure positions related to their personal and career goals.

Through The Aspire Program, students will learn to see possibilities and options. They will learn to design career plans, while understanding that new information or experiences might alter those plans. They will learn that career development is most effective when it’s embedded in our regular lives, not occasional. The Aspire Program prepares students for lifelong success by helping students develop habits of mind that encourage lifelong growth.

Who Participates?


First-year students entering Carthage in Fall 2019 will be the first cohort to be automatically enrolled The Aspire Program’s new four-year career development plan.  Alumni and continuing students will retain access to all existing resources and be welcomed to take advantage of new career development programs and resources as they become available. 

The Aspire Program is for students in all majors. It is not simply accessible to all students, it is designed for all students.

What Do Students Get?


  • Early access to career advisors and mentors. All Carthage students receive an assigned Career Specialist, who collaborates with the student’s academic advisor to help the student succeed in college and build plans for the future.
  • Access to a wide range of experiential learning opportunities. Internships, study abroad, research, and so many other opportunities allow students to build skills necessary for today’s job market.
  • Opportunities for students to build leadership, entrepreneurship, and creativity skills to lead and thrive in times of change. With 40 percent of jobs likely to change significantly within the next 10 years, we’re educating students for today and tomorrow.

Our approach to career success reduces stress for students and helps them to make better decisions to be more prepared for life after graduation. We celebrate small and big accomplishments; career development is a journey with many ups and downs. Carthage students join a community of people exploring who they are and how to make a difference in the world. Students will design an individualized plan to organize their exploration and set goals for the future, which will be revised and developed throughout their time at Carthage..

The Four-Year Plan


What does a typical Aspire student plan look like?

More Questions?


Click on any photo to view larger; use arrows or arrow keys to navigate left and right


“I’ve learned so many lessons and received a lot of valuable advice. I’ve also come to be a little bit more adventurous. I have found more pieces of who I am, and who I would like to become. I’m glad I was able to do that at Carthage.”
— Caitlin Reynolds ’18