During OPE you will be possibly be invited to Socials hosted by specific institutions, metro areas (Chicago Area, Minneapolis Area), or even regions.
It is important for you to know the difference between socials and the OPE Social. These are two very different experiences that we would like you to prepare for.
Institutional, Regional, and Metro Area Socials:
Socials are hosted by individual institutions, or an organization (such as a metro area or region). The host of these socials will determine how invitations are passed.
For some institutions, if you are interviewing at OPE, you will receive notice about their social, for others if you are an alumni of the institution (or metro area or region) you will be invited, and yet others will only extend limited invitations based on criteria determined by their team. OPE does not determine the invitation practices for each social.
If you are invited to a social, it is typically a “dress/business casual” event and a place to grab snacks while getting to know that institution more personally as well as an opportunity for you to connect with more members of the interview team.
As socials are scheduled around the typical interview hours (morning or evening), there will be multiple socials scheduled at the same time in various spaces. If you have multiple social invites, and some of which conflict, you will need to determine how much time you will spend at each social and/or if you are truly invested in attending every social. After all, you will only be able to accept one position, so consider socials as an opportunity to determine your level of commitment for that institution or position.
The OPE Social
This is the largest social hosted at OPE. It is highly recommended that you attend the OPE Social as a candidate as it allows for informal interactions with employers and other candidates. This is a networking opportunity!
We want to be honest and clear upfront: The OPE Social can be overwhelming, especially for those who have never experienced this type of event.
The purpose of the OPE Social is to create a venue for employers and candidates to mingle. Each institution and employer have different perspectives and purposes at the OPE Social – some are hunting down candidates and others are more interested in connecting with peers from different institutions after a long weekend on interviews – as a candidate you will need to navigate this political reality. OPE’s purpose is to create a space to allow for all of these different needs to be met, and as a result you might not have the opportunity to find or interact with each institution you interviewed with. Your ability to connect with an employer at the OPE Social will not be the determining factor in securing an on-campus interview.
The OPE Social will have multiple food stations and drink stations placed within a large reception area. There will be tables scattered throughout the space, but many people will also gather in large groups or wonder through the crowd to mingle. Some institutions will coordinate specific apparel so that it is easier to find them in the large group; others might locate a specific side of a room and make that their “home base” for candidates to find. The OPE Social is a large event with many different institutions and candidates and it can be a fun experience.