Heart of the Matter

Andy Chan's Blog for Parents, Mentors and Teachers

First Years Meet the OPCD

Last week I had the special opportunity to deliver a light-hearted and fun overview of the new Office of Personal and Career Development (OPCD) to all 1,246 students from the Class of 2015.   As part of the official orientation program here at Wake Forest, our newest students received an overview of the core OPCD resources and began the process of successfully navigating their journey from college to career.

With our twenty-six person staff, our First Year students learned how to take advantage of the variety of resources housed in the OPCD’s five departments:  Career and Professional Development, Leadership Development, the Mentoring Resource Center, the Family Business Center, and the Center for Innovation, Creativity, and Entrepreneurship.

To emphasize the need for students to manage and take responsibility for their personal decisions, we employed a new audience participation tool to let our audience drive the program.  At each juncture in our presentation, students were shown a set of questions and asked to text a “vote” for the question that they wanted to have answered.  In our example below, over 700 students interacted directly by texting their replies using Polleverywhere.com.

Through our interactive presentation, the First Years learned about where to find the Focus2 career assessment tool and how to track their likes and dislikes on our T-chart handout over the course of their first year at Wake Forest.  Students were encouraged to share their findings with parents, academic advisors, career counselors and other adult fans to discuss their results and possible majors and careers.  If you are a parent of a First Year student, consider asking your student about these tools and their preliminary thoughts over Thanksgiving or Winter Break.

Students also learned about the new credit-bearing half-semester career classes available to all students, with two specifically designed for first year and sophomore students.  Students were excited to learn about the $100,000 in grants for entrepreneurial new ventures and internships offered through our Center for Innovation, Creativity, and Entrepreneurship.

We asked the first year students to remember three simple tips:

  1. Start early. By starting early, students can gather the necessary information about themselves and the world of work to successfully manage the career development process.  By waiting, it’s much more stressful and difficult. If your student has questions on where to begin, you can direct them to our Career and Professional Development website, which has many useful resources, including a checklist for first year students.
  2. Visit the OPCD office. By stopping by our new office in Reynolda Hall on the 2nd floor near the Magnolia room, students will quickly learn about the many ways that we will be able to support them over their four years at Wake Forest.  Each student should schedule a career counseling appointment starting in January to begin work on their career action plan.
  3. Register for DeaconSource. All students should register so that we can track their career activity.  In addition, students will receive personalized email announcements tailored to their career interests (which can be updated any time) and gain access to our internship and job listings. I am excited to report that less than a week after our presentation, a quarter of the first year class has registered for DeaconSource!  Whatever year your child may be in, please make sure that they are registered in DeaconSource.

Category: Educational Events