By Vicki Nelson
Most students (and their parents!) agree that career preparation is a top priority during the college years. Unfortunately, too many students wait until junior or even senior year to begin exploring career opportunities.
You can encourage your student to make use of campus career resources early on. First or second year is not too soon to start!
Career offices go by many names: Career Services, Career Development Office, Career Placement Office, Career Center. Whatever the name, most offer a variety of services, and this is a wonderful place for students to begin their exploration. The earlier students start working with their Career Office the more likely they are to establish a relationship with the staff and counselors, and the better positioned they will be to take advantage of all that is offered.
Here are a few of the types of activities that a Career Office might provide:
More and more schools now recognize that a key component of higher education is helping undergrads transition from the role of student to that of employee. Many offer programs specifically designed to help first- and second-year students build career decision-making skills. Don’t let your student overlook this rich campus resource.
The faculty members in your student’s major department or area are a bountiful source of career information just waiting to be tapped. Encourage your student to seek out faculty members and talk to them about what drew them to their field and where they see the field going in the future. Professors are usually eager to share their passion for their subject, and as active scholars and researchers often see trends well in advance. Making early connections with faculty members will enrich your student’s overall college experience and may lead to beneficial mentoring relationships.
Before your student goes on interviews as a job candidate, he can put on the other hat and conduct some interviews himself. On his own, or with the aid of faculty members or the Career Office, your student should identify people working in a field in which he is interested. He can then contact them and ask whether they are able to spare some time for a conversation about what they do. Most people who enjoy their profession are happy and willing to talk about their jobs.
Through these informational interviews, your student can learn what drew someone to a particular job, what skills are most important, what a typical work day looks like, what courses are essential preparation, and what strengths he should cultivate. Ending each interview with a request for the name of anyone else he might contact will help your student find others to interview.
Many students find that informational interviews early in their college career can make an important difference in guiding them toward — or away from — a career.
Whatever form your student’s career exploration takes, the earlier he begins, and the more open he is to the information he gathers, the more confidence he will have that he is on a path toward a career that he will find fulfilling and for which he will be well prepared. What more could we, as parents, want?
Other recent articles by Vicki Nelson:
Did you enjoy reading this article? Sign up for UniversityParent’s weekly eNewsletter and purchase the Guide to Supporting Your Student’s Freshman Year for additional tips, insight, and to help your college student succeed. You may also add to the discussion and get feedback from fellow college parents by joining our Community Forum and College Parents’ Facebook group.
306 S. Washington Ave
Royal Oak, MI 48067
Post your own housing listing on Uloop and have students reach out to you!
Flatscreen Rentals for Students. Roomate Packages Under $89. CampusTVs rents high-definition televisions to college students at a fraction of what it would cost to purchase from the local department store.
Display your business name, description, address, phone number, and a clickable link in a category that fits you best.
Parents choose our website first because we rank higher and solve more of their problems in comparison to the university pages.
Our Online Guide Listings get 5 times more click throughs than Google & Facebook Ads (average 10% vs. 1.5-2%).
“UniversityParent was one of the best resources when my son went to college. They have everything!”
“With my daughter going off to college, UniversityParent quickly became my #1 essential resource”