Written by Traecy Hobson. It’s January, and if you are a college senior the looming last semester can bring much uncertainty and anxiety. No doubt, many well-meaning family members and friends have been inquiring about your post graduation plans. It may feel as if many of your friends have it all figured out with recent grad school acceptances or job offers from last summers’ internships. It’s easy to forget that this is not the norm. Take a deep breath and don’t despair. There are many people willing and able to help! Your professors and advisor are good resources, but the career center is probably the single most important on-campus resource. Here you will find help with resumes, cover letters, mock interviews and institutional databases for job and/or internships.
Colleges know that graduation outcomes are an important factor in the college selection process. After graduation statistics are usually highlighted in informational presentations, glossy college brochures and college websites. Experiential opportunities and pre-professional advising are regularly featured topics during campus visits. When visiting colleges here are a few questions high school students and their parents should ask about career services:
When can students access career services? Many colleges encourage students to take advantage of on-campus career services as early as freshman year.
What is the procedure for gaining access to the university database for internship, externship and post-graduation employment opportunities? Some colleges require students to attend an on-campus workshop or enroll in a mini course to learn about career services and offerings before gaining unlimited access to files and resources.
How often does the college or university bring recruiters to campus? Is there a job fair on campus? Many colleges have an annual job fair open to all students. Others invite recruiters to campus for select majors: accounting, economics, math, finance, etc. at different times of the year.
How does the college or university help with resumes, cover letters and interviews? Are there mock interviews, resume and LinkedIn writing workshops? Who leads the workshops? Faculty? Peers? How often are they offered?
Does the college offer pre-professional (pre-health, pre-med, pre-law, etc.) advising? When does advising begin? Is there a separate advisor for pre-med vs. pre-health? Does the advisor teach as well or is this his/her only role?
Does career services aid with internship searches? Does the college or university have a database for internships? Does the college offer stipends or grants to students who secure unpaid internships? If so, how much is the stipend and what is the procedure to receive it?
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