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Heart of the Matter

Andy Chan's Blog for Parents, Mentors and Teachers

Professional Development at Wake Forest

Like a train moving full steam ahead, so is the semester nearing its end, and Wake Forest students are getting excited about what the summer months hold for them. Whether they are embarking on their first job, internship, graduate school, or other experience, your students can and should start to prepare now by building important professional and life skills necessary for life outside of college. Thanks to the leadership and hard work of Allison McWilliams and Amy Willard, the OPCD has a robust Professional Development department that provides tools, resources, and a framework to guide your students in developing their professional selves.

According to the 2013 NACE Job Outlook survey, an annual survey of employers, the most sought-after skills (in order of importance) that they look for in recent college graduates are: 1) oral communication; 2) teamwork; 3) problem-solving; 4) organizational skills; 5) critical thinking; 6) analytical skills; 7) technical knowledge; 8) computer skills; 9) written communication; and 10) interpersonal skills. At Wake Forest, students have the opportunity to develop these skills through their academic coursework; research opportunities; educational workshops; and experiential activities such as internships, student organizations, study abroad, and volunteer experiences. In addition, we have created a skill-building directory that allows students to search for and find opportunities where they can begin acquiring these critical skills.

In addition to these key skill areas, financial literacy is critical to post-graduation success. Research increasingly indicates that students possess aloof attitudes and behaviors toward fiscal responsibility until faced with debt and expenses that comes with living on their own for the first time. According to Everfi’s survey of 40,000 first-year college students, “Nearly 80 percent of students said that they “frequently” worry about debt.  Yet many of them also acknowledged risky financial behavior, such as carrying a credit-card balance of $1,000 or more.” To combat this, the Office of Personal and Career Development has partnered with the National Endowment for Financial Education to offer CashCourse, a free online interactive financial literacy tool for Wake Forest students. CashCourse provides topical advice and resources to students delivered through worksheets, financial calculators, quizzes, courses, videos, and budget guides to help students build financial literacy and make sound fiscal decisions now, in order to prepare them for their future.

At Wake Forest, we are committed to preparing your students for their lives outside of college, by equipping them with the tools, resources, and knowledge they will need to be successful, positive contributors to society. CashCourse and the Skill-Building Directory are just two examples of how we are constantly seeking new and innovative ways to provide the guidance and information that students need. Check them out and let us know what you think!

Category: OPCD Updates