Heart of the Matter

Andy Chan's Blog for Parents, Mentors and Teachers


The OPCD Helps Students in Record Numbers!

The OPCD is off to a blazing start this academic year. We’ve experienced double-digit growth in student engagement compared to last year at this time. These results reflect our progress towards achieving our goal of changing the culture at Wake Forest, where personal and career development is an essential component of every student’s college experience.

Counseling appointments are one of the primary ways the OPCD assists students in their career development journey. We have experienced a 20.4% increase in appointments, with over 100 more than this time last year. Career counselors help students in a variety of ways and address each student’s career-related questions including self-assessment results, up-coming interviews, job or internship search strategies, and refine their career action plan. In post-counseling appointment surveys, 100% of students report that their counseling appointment was a helpful and positive experience.

In the past, mock interviews have been one of the more underutilized services offered by the OPCD so we are pleased to experience a 38.1% increase. We have one staff member, Don Masura, solely dedicated solely to mock interviews because it is one of the most crucial job search skills that students practice the least. In mock interviews, the student gives his/her resume and a job description to Don; then Don conducts a tailored interview representative of the industry and job description. Once the interview is complete, Don analyzes the student’s performance with the student and offers detailed feedback on the student’s strength and opportunities for improvement.
The number of self-assessments taken has increased over 30%. Self-assessments are a vital tool to help students make significant decisions like identifying options for major selection and potential career fields. These assessments enable students to understand their interests, values, skills, strengths and personality to make well-informed decisions regarding their academic and career development.

Finally, attendance at OPCD programs has increased by 11.4%. These programs are topical in nature and can be designed for particular audiences or be offered to the student body at large. The subjects range from creating a collegiate resume to building a professional LinkedIn profile to job search strategies. These programs have been embraced by students because our staff meets students where they are. Whether our staff speaks at a sorority’s chapter meeting, in a residence hall or in a faculty member’s classroom, students greatly appreciate our meeting them where they are.

Parents, make sure your student is taking advantage of all that the OCPD has to offer. The first step is to complete their profile in DeaconSource so that they receive relevant news and information tailored to their specific interests,. Students from all class years are connecting with the OPCD and increasing their capabilities to successfully find internships, full-time jobs or graduate school admission. Please encourage your student to come into the OPCD today to get started.

Top 5 Tips for Graduate School Seeking Seniors

Many students mistakenly believe the OPCD is not able to help them if they are interested in graduate or professional school. However, we actually have a lot of information and resources to help students navigate the path from college to career, including graduate school! We work closely with the faculty who advise students considering attending graduate school for medicine and pre-health professions, law, business, divinity as well as many other academic paths. Today, we offer the top 5 tips for seniors seeking graduate or professional school.

1.  Meet with the Appropriate Adviser

Since the preparatory process for applying to different graduate programs is so unique, meet with the appropriate advisers to learn more about specific timelines and steps you should be taking right now. They will provide advice tailored to your specific needs and situation.

2.  Update and Tailor Your Resume and Professional Documents

Resumespersonal statements, and other documents for graduate programs are subtly different than those for the world of work. Ensure you are emphasizing the characteristics that make you an attractive graduate school candidate by visiting the OPCD (Reynolda 230) during resume review hours (Mon-Thurs 2:00pm-4:00pm, Friday 10:00am-12:00pm and 1:00pm-3:00pm) to have these documents reviewed.

3.  Figure out Finances

Graduate school is not cheap. Remember that in addition to tuition, there are many other costs associated with graduate school. Thoroughly research all of the costs of attendance and the methods you may pursue to afford the degree. Research potential scholarships, work-study opportunities, assistant positions, and available student loans in order make this investment in your future possible.

4.  Obtain Letters of Recommendation

Every graduate program will ask for recommendations from professors and professional contacts. Connect with your recommenders early to allow them the time they need to write a strong, positive recommendation. Remember that you will not be the only one asking for recommendation letters, so request them early to ensure you have your letters by the necessary deadlines. Don’t forget to include materials they may need to write a recommendation such as your resume or a letter of interest stating why you would like to attend a particular program.

5.  Prepare for Your Interviews

Prepare for your interview by researching the program thoroughly and scheduling a mock interview. Search websites such as Petersons.com or the program’s webpage in addition to discussing the program with Wake Forest alumni and your professors in order to receive additional information and advice to help you prepare for your interview. Also, attend the Graduate & Professional School Day on November 7th from 10:00AM – 1:00PM in Benson 401 to meet with representatives from the different schools to which you may have applied. Furthermore, schedule amock interview to practice your interviewing skills and receive constructive feedback on ways to succeed.

Apply for the Career Exploration Treks

One of the objectives of the Office of Personal & Career Development is to be creative and innovative in the programs and services we offer to Wake Forest students. In the past, these innovations have taken the shape of partnering with the Department of Counseling to offer College to Career Courses and designing tools like the Career Passport. However, we are not the only career development office thinking along these lines. In many of our peer institutions, we have found the same excitement and energy that is characteristic of the OPCD. It is with great excitement and enthusiasm that the OPCD is partnering with the University of Chicago and Stanford University to offer undergraduate students three Career Exploration Treks this year.

Students from all three universities will have the opportunity to embark upon career-related field trips to Chicago, San Francisco, or Washington, D.C. from December 16th to December 18th. The trip will be a valuable professional learning experience, enabling students to become familiar with a variety of organizations in a small group setting, meet students from other outstanding schools, and build their professional network. Each trek will include a reception on Monday, December 17th which will include representatives from the organizations students will have visited, as well as local alumni from all three universities.

Each trek is open to all undergraduate students and can accommodate 45 students, fifteen from each school. We are anticipating that these treks will be popular as they provide a unique opportunity to both the students and employers who will be participating. The trek enables employers to meet outstanding students in person and identify potential candidates for internships or full-time jobs.

Wake Forest will be hosting the trek in Washington, D.C. where students will be exposed to the vibrancy and energy of our nation’s capital as well as leading consulting organizations, the leadership team of National Media Research, Planning and Placement (NMRPP), and various government opportunities. CEB, Deloitte LLP, Navigant Consulting, NMRPP, and the U.S. Capital Visitors Center will provide the fortunate 45 students a variety of learning experiences and potential employment opportunities.

For more information on the treks and the application process, click this link.

Encourage your student to apply for this incredible opportunity. Ensure that your student maximizes his chance of being selected by reminding him to spend time refining his resume, cover letter and verbal introductory ‘pitch’ to answer the question, “Tell me about yourself.” Students can also utilize our daily, walk-in resume review hours to make sure these documents emphasize the best aspects of themselves. Make sure your student seriously considers applying for this outstanding opportunity to learn more about these exciting cities and career fields.

Face-To-Face Conversations Matter

In the 2012 commencement address, President Hatch counseled the Wake Forest community about the double-sided nature of wireless technology. He reminded that while the speed and efficiency of digital communication is admirable, we are losing something vital in the process. Similarly, technology has transformed job search methods. It is now easier to research, network and apply for a multitude of jobs in locations all over the world, but again something is lost. The Office of Personal & Career Development teaches students that face-to-face interaction – the art of personal conversation – cannot be completely replaced.  We have four key opportunities this semester designed to give students personal interaction with employers.

This past week, we hosted over 45 employers on campus for the 2012 Fall Career Fair. A record number of students, over 600, attended the fair ranging from nervous and timid first-year students to eager and excited seniors. Students met with potential employers from a broad range of industries and job functions.  The fair was an excellent opportunity to gather information and build relationships from employers of all types. Many of these employers will return during the year to conduct information sessions or participate on industry panels and interview students.

Secondly, the office is piloting a job shadowing program over fall break, October 19. Students in our CNS 120 class will shadow local employers to gain “day-on-the-job” insight into specific positions, organization and industries.  This personal experience will allow them to ask lots of questions and be exposed to an unknown, new work environment. Participating students will  also learn how to develop future shadowing and externship experiences targeted to their interests – on their own initiative. If you or your organization is willing to host a WFU student to job shadow, please email Lori Sykes at sykeslh@nullwfu.edu.

Third, with the help and support of Mark Lyons, the Chairman and CEO of Arch Worldwide Insurance Group, a select number of students interested in risk management will receive an all-expenses paid trip to New York on November 8th and 9th to meet with him and other industry leaders. This trip is not limited to business students or even seniors, but is available to all students interested in learning about risk management. We are grateful to Mark Lyons for providing an exceptional opportunity for WFU students to gather information and network in a highly competitive and dynamic industry.

Fourth, Wake Forest is partnering – for the first time – with Stanford University and the University of Chicago to offer career treks to San Francisco, Chicago, and Washington, D.C. from December 16-18th, 2012. Each school will host the career trek in its local region (with Wake Forest claiming Washington, D.C.). In Chicago, students will meet with organizations in the arts and consumer products industries. In the San Francisco Bay Area, students will met with entrepreneurial firms and start-ups.  In Washington, D.C., students will meet organizations in politics/government and consulting. Students will spend the two days visiting with employers to tour their offices and hear presentations, networking with professionals, and meeting students and alumni from all three outstanding universities. Students must complete an application to be considered for the treks by November 2nd.

Through these innovative, valuable initiatives, we are giving students the opportunity to conduct personal face-to-face conversations with employers. To quote President Hatch, “For a place like Wake Forest, conversation is at the heart of what we do because it combines ideas and human interaction, the intellectual and the personal.” Through the strategic programs offered by the OPCD, students are making connections with employers more than ever, which will result in better and greater information for students to access opportunities and make optimal career decisions.

New Passport for Career Success

There is a quote by Winston Churchill that one of my staffers often references: “Every day you may make progress. Every step may be fruitful. Yet there will stretch out before you an ever-lengthening, ever-ascending, ever-improving path. You know you will never get to the end of the journey. But this, so far from discouraging, only adds to the joy and glory of the climb.” These powerful words explains a truism about our professional life that we often overlook. Fundamentally, our career journey is just that – a journey.

We truly do not know where our career journey will take us. It is increasingly common for professionals to not only move from organization to organization, but across job functions, industries and careers as well. The Bureau for Labor Statistics reports that the average number of jobs held by Baby Boomers in their working lifetime was 11; we can assume that this number will only increase with the Millennial generation. In line with this theme of a career journey, the OPCD developed a brand new and unique resource for students this year – our Career Passport.

The Career Passport details the most important steps students should undertake each year in order to achieve successful career results at the end of their college experience, whether they attend graduate school or secure a full-time job. Much of the research regarding the Millennial generation states that they are planners; they love to check off the boxes and track their progress to ensure they are on course for various objectives. As a result, we have provided start and completion dates for each of the action steps to insure that students know what they need to accomplish and by when.

At the First-Year orientation program, we distributed the Career Passport to all 1,357 new students, which they really appreciated.  One student commented, “It’s adorable!” which we hope means she won’t ever lose it. The Career Passport encourages students to begin reflecting on their career journey early in their college experience. For first and second year students, we recommend that they take self-assessments, gather career information through a variety of sources and channels, and find internships to begin exploring and understanding the world of work as well as their own personal interests, values and strengths. During the first two years, we are equipping students with the information to make well thought-out decisions in their remaining two years, when the stakes are more significant. As I like to say, “An informed decision is a good decision.”

In their junior and senior year, students develop and execute a personal career action plan depending on their career interests and personal capabilities and circumstances. This involves refining interview skills, leveraging existing relationships to form new networking contacts, and applying for job and internship openings listed both in DeaconSource and other job sites. In addition, the Career Passport helps your student prepare for future, post-graduate job searches.

When preparing for an international journey, there are numerous items on your packing list: your phone charger, adapters, medications, foreign currency, etc. But there is one item that is absolutely necessary in order to even board the plane: your passport. The OPCD Career Passport is equally essential to students at any point of their career journey at Wake Forest. Encourage your students to consult our Career Passport in order to thoughtfully and intentionally prepare for their career journey during and after their time at Wake Forest.

First Year Students Launch Their Career Journeys

A few days ago, the Class of 2016 attended our mandatory (Yes, mandatory!) orientation program to be introduced to the Office of Personal and Career Development. In order to seat all 1357 students, we gathered in Wait Chapel.  Many of them were exhausted after five straight days and nights of Orientation meetings and fun.  I actually saw one girl sleeping in the front row before our session began!

In order to keep their attention and demonstrate to them our fun and welcoming office, we put together an interactive and engaging hour that involved games, live polling using text messaging, music, videos, and even paper airplanes. Through these, we conveyed our three key messages:

Our first key message: You’re not married to your major. Our College-To-Career Course instructor Heidi Robinson asked, “Why do students dread the question, ‘What is your major?’.” She explained that there is an underlying (and inaccurate) assumption that your major defines what your career will be after graduation. However, Heidi offered a competing theory that your major neither guarantees nor precludes your entry into a particular industry or career field. To prove her hypothesis, Heidi revealed to students the notable careers of recent graduates and asked them to guess their majors via a live texting poll. Students were surprised, and excited, to learn the CEO of Emerson Electric was a Chemistry major and a Senior Sales Representative at Google was a Psychology major amongst others.

Our second key message:  Use all the resources provided and start now.

Following Heidi’s presentation, our Presidential Fellow and recent graduate, Tommy Derry, described two of the most important resources for First Year students:

  • DeaconSource – our central hub for job and internship postings that compiles student information enabling the OPCD to send targeted messaging.
  • The Career Passport – their road map of key action items to complete during each year of their college experience.

DeaconSource and The Career Passport will keep them connected to our office and ensure they don’t miss important information, programs, events or opportunities.

Our third key message: Use all four years to train and compete like an elite Olympic athlete. With the London Olympic Games having just taken place, I compared the First Years’ status to that of a promising athlete hoping to compete in the 2016 Olympics. Just as athletes must train for their events which are four years away, so must students train during all four years and begin their career process now. These athletes have coaches to assist them with their technique and training methods, and the OPCD staff, as well as many other Wake Forest faculty and staff, are available to help students along their career path.  But help and assistance only occur if students ask for it. They must be proactive, take responsibility and put in the time and effort to train, learn and compete, just like elite athletes. Encourage your student to engage in the career process early so that he can maximize his chances for success.

In closing, I explained to the First Years that their career path will be an unpredictable journey. They may not know exactly where they are going or how they will get there, but the OPCD will help them throughout the process. They need only to connect and engage with us – all four years.

To make this point come to life, I asked the First Years to write down their current career and geographic interests (“Unsure” is an acceptable answer) on a sheet of paper. I then asked them to turn it into a paper airplane. Then, as one class, they “launched” their career journeys by tossing their paper airplanes in every direction while we played the song from the movie, Rocky: “Gonna Fly Now” by Bill Conti.

Here is a video capturing this fun and memorable moment:

We are excited to teach and equip all of our students to successfully navigate the journey from college-to-career.  And we’re pretty sure that our Class of 2016 enjoyed their launch experience with us this week at Orientation.

Grounding Helicopter Parents

Every parent knows the feeling. We would do absolutely anything to help our children. There is no instinct more primal or original to our very beings than the protection and well-being of our children. This impulse is even stronger in America where our collective dream is that our children will lead ‘richer’ lives than we did. We are a nation of continuous improvement, of upward mobility, of great promise.

However, in our desire to help our children, we may be preventing the very growth and development we are hoping to promote. A Wall Street Journal Article published last month describes the challenges parents face around first-year orientation. One University of Syracuse administrator describes the current generation of parents as “the most over-involved generation of all time.” While helping our children seems natural, too much involvement can have unintended consequences. The transition to college, and specifically college orientation drop off day, is a watershed moment for re-defining your parent-child relationship in a new, meaningful way.

It’s tough to admit, but there’s a little bit of a helicopter parent inside all of us. Last year my oldest child, Alex, began college at Stanford. I wanted to give him lots of advice on how to make the most of his college experience, but my past experience of doing so often felt like I was lecturing to him. I know it’s not working when his eyes start to glass over.

Instead, I asked two mature and engaging recent college graduates to have lunch with Alex. Over lunch, I quietly listened to Caroline and Austin give Alex perspective and advice and learned a few things myself. I realized that all college students, not only my son, prefer to hear from people closer in age and experience than me.

So one of my roles now is to be a Connector for Alex – to help him be exposed to and learn from other students and young professionals. It’s from these types of conversations, Alex has begun to ask for my advice and guidance on issues like how to communicate professionally and networking etiquette. I am constantly thinking about people who I can introduce to Alex so that he exponentially increases his breadth of knowledge, especially regarding careers and the world of work.

I have also become more of a Consultant to Alex – where he is taking ownership of his actions and decisions, and I am one of several people he asks for perspective and advice. I have to remind myself that I am not the CEO of his life, even though I do sometimes feel that I am his banker – or perhaps his majority stockholder!

First-year orientation is a major milestone. It is an opportunity to break from the past and create a new relationship with your child. It can be bittersweet, but many of the best things in life emerge from challenging situations. In addition to gaining academic skills, college is a time for your child to mature into a young adult in many ways. Important life skills such as independently balancing a budget, managing time, finding solutions to everyday obstacles, etc. are just as important as the education he or she will receive. And in the area of personal and career development, we will guide them to ask and answer fundamental questions about what matters most to them and where they will find career focus and satisfaction.

Here are some tips adapted from the WSJ article to help you manage the transition.

  1. Encourage your student to tackle her problems by utilizing campus resources. Rather than diving in to solve the problem for your student, instead ask, “Who can you talk to on campus to help you with that issue?” and “What’s keeping you from taking action?” Then give her affirmation and positive feedback for taking responsibility and action – even if the outcome doesn’t turn out exactly the way you had hoped.
  2. Create a budget and financial plan with your student. Set goals in advance and hold your child accountable to the limits you set.
  3. Schedule a consistent time to communicate depending on your family needs and schedule. This can be via text, phone, Skype, email or whatever method your family prefers. Establish a habit of connecting once a day, every few days, or once a week, and commit to the schedule.
  4. Visit your student during appropriate times such as family weekend. College is designed for the students to learn and grow independently. Too much parent presence will stunt the growth process – and be pretty uncomfortable for your student.
  5. Stay informed by reading the college’s materials, blogs and social media. Be careful not to overwhelm your child with all the information at one time, for example on Family Weekend, Thanksgiving Break, or at a dinner with his dorm mates. Ease into discussions one step at a time and be an active listener by asking neutral, open-ended questions. Your tone makes a real difference.
  6. Be prepared for lots of change. One day, your child will seem very certain and then suddenly change her mind. Students gain new information and have new experiences daily, so they can vascillate on major, career, friends, clubs and other important decisions. Listen carefully and try to learn about what’s at the core of their thinking. Don’t force clarity until it’s absolutely required – and guide them to speak to professionals on campus who have the experience and perspective of seeing thousands of college students in similar situations.

One of the hardest decisions parents must make is the one to really let go. It counters every instinct we hold dear and sometimes seems to hurt more than it helps. In the end, however, your child will thank you for it. Help your child make the most of the college experience to learn and grow independently – by grounding the helicopter in you.

Married to Your Major? Not at Wake Forest

Choosing a major is one of the most significant decisions students face during their time in college. The cost of higher education continues to climb upwards while the job market has been stagnant. As a result, the choice of major can feel like a life-or-death decision for students and their parents – especially when many embrace the inaccurate conventional wisdom that a student’s major is the primary indicator of his or her post-graduate employability and compensation.

At Wake Forest, students are not married to their major.  What one majors in does not directly correlate to employability or compensation. In fact, most employers are not primarily focused academic major content. But rather, the skills and work ethic that students develop in their courses, extracurricular activities and internships are paramount. Employers search for hires that can think critically, solve problems analytically, and form arguments which they then can defend both in writing and speech. Couple the classroom experiences with industry knowledge and technical expertise cultivated through extracurricular activities and internships and your student is an ideal candidate for many jobs and careers.

At our national Rethinking Success Conference, national thought leaders and employers discussed what they look for in new hires. Mark Zandi, the chief economist of Moody’s Analytics, describes what he finds valuable in students:

Selecting a major that a student loves has many benefits. Foremost, students’ academic performances will be superior and their collegiate experiences will be more enjoyable when they study subjects that they are passionate about and interested in. Importantly, students will invest more time on subjects they find compelling and as a result, they will acquire more of the skills a liberal arts education aims to impart. Both an improved GPA, self-confidence, strong work ethic and additional marketable skills will place a student in an advantageous position in terms of employer interest and in securing graduate school admission or job offers.

Parents are very significant influencers when it comes to students selecting their major. Increasingly, parents have been steering their children towards majors with “high employability” to address their fears about post-graduate employment. However, studying a “practical” major can often lead to deteriorated job opportunities if it results in a lower GPA, lower self-confidence and enthusiasm, and fewer marketable skills. Encourage your child to pursue his or her academic interests and passions as it will not only lead to a more enjoyable time at Wake Forest, but will also help his or her career prospects.

Check out this WFU news story detailing four summer interns who have followed their passions, not necessarily their majors, to their current positions.  Also, see the variety of jobs that recent Wake grads have secured by major, check out these outcomes for each of the majors on the Explore Majors page.

Opportunity Knocks! Start with DeaconSource

There is a certain quality about Demon Deacons – their work ethic, their “Pro Humanitate” spirit, their interpersonal skills and their well-roundedness – that makes our students stand out. Everyone affiliated with Wake Forest agrees there is something distinctive about our students and graduates, and employers have noticed as well. Thanks to the efforts of our Employer Relations team and the support of our alumni and parents whose organizations recruit our students, on-campus interviews increased by 15.5%, job postings were up 11.7%, and employer attendance at career fairs improved by 43.3% in the last year. These numbers are especially significant given that our economy is stuck in neutral.

One of the primary methods for your student to learn about and access employers interested in Wake Forest students is DeaconSource, our online recruiting portal prominently located on the OPCD website. Students can access job descriptions for internships or full-time jobs from a wide range of industry sectors. For any that interest them, DeaconSource allows students to apply for the opportunities online directly within the system. To facilitate the search process, they can set up search agents that notify them when new opportunities are posted that align with their interests.

In DeaconSource, students must complete an online profile detailing his or her broad career and geographic destination preferences. This simple step is critical. With this key information, the OPCD can deliver important email messages targeted to your student based on his or her interests. Then, your student will not miss out on information, events and opportunities that can help him or her in making career-related decisions. If your student’s preferences change, s/he can quickly adjust his or her profile to reflect the adjustments and will begin receive updated messaging. We ask students to update their DeaconSource profile at the beginning of each academic year and at any time they change their career or geographical preferences. Please remind your student of this important action item.

DeaconSource is the ideal place to start a job or internship search, but one cannot rely on it alone. Employers post jobs on many different sites which the OPCD has listed on our website. We offer some of the best pages for both internships and industry and career-specific jobs to assist students in their search. As we teach students, networking is the # 1 way to secure an internship or job, so plan on also utilizing our great networking resources, including LinkedIn, the WF Career Connectors Group and other networking contacts.

Obtaining an outstanding internship or job is not small task.  It doesn’t happen by simply applying. To set your expectations, a student may need to apply to over 30 opportunities to yield one interview. It really is THAT competitive.

As the year unfolds, more opportunities will be posted on DeaconSource. The timelines for jobs versus internships as well as different industries can be drastically different, so if your student doesn’t find anything of interest, tell him or her to remain vigilant. Don’t let your student miss out on a great job because s/he hasn’t created a DeaconSource profile, created search agents or regularly reviewed the dynamic database of job and internship opportunities. Encourage your child to get started with DeaconSource today – Opportunity Knocks!

The Costs and Benefits of Internships

Even though it is illegal for employers to offer unpaid internships, it’s happening. Not only are these positions unpaid (or paying well-below market), but students also need to find additional funds to finance housing, food, and transportation for the summer, often in expensive cities. The question being asked now by many media publications, including the Wall Street Journal, is: Are summer internships worth it? My answer is absolutely and unequivocally YES for four reasons.

First, internships provide a real-world taste of potential professions to encourage or dispel your student’s interest in a job function, career path, organization, industry and/or location. Whatever the outcome, students are more informed about the world of work and about their own interests and aspirations on a variety of dimensions. Without this experience, s/he will never really know. As I like to say, “You never really know until you try it.”

During your student’s internship, s/he will learn things about the job function, industry and location that could never be learned in a textbook. While online job descriptions, career guidebooks and informational interviews provide a strong (and necessary) starting point, it is important for your student to gather real-life information through the internship experience.

Second, internships deliver an excellent opportunity for your student to build a professional network within his or her organization, industry and location. These adult fans may become friends, mentors, recommenders or connectors to future opportunities of all kinds – inside the organization or even in areas completely different from the internship experience.  As I like to tell students, “It’s not just who you know, but who likes you.”  It’s important for students to build their friend network during their internship, and it has to be much more than just a “Facebook friend”.

Third, your child will acquire technical and professional skills to complement their liberal arts education at Wake Forest. Employers are looking for students who not only can read critically, write persuasively, and think analytically, but potential hires who have technical industry- and work-related professional skills cultivated from an internship. Students learn much while at school, but the opportunity to develop professional skills must be initiated and developed in an internship.

Fourth, many employers hire their interns for full-time positions. They hire students for the summer between junior and senior year and based on the student’s performance during their internship, they hope to hire as many as possible and not have to recruit senior students.  As a result, it’s very important for students to begin seriously thinking about potential career directions as early as their sophomore year.  It’s helpful to begin even sooner by visiting with an OPCD career counselor and reviewing the OPCD website to understand the process and begin reflecting, exploring and taking action.

Fundamentally, an internship is an investment in your student’s future. While the cost of financing a summer internship in addition to the academic expenses may not seem fair, the value is priceless – even if the result is that your student rules out a career direction.  It’s much less costly to learn that while your child is still in college than when s/he is in her 20’s floundering between full-time jobs with little clarity of direction.

Through an internship, your student will better understand where s/he would like to begin his career and will begin developing the professional knowledge and skills. Understanding the gaps from where your student is today and where they need to be will motivate them to learn and be proactive. To help your students learn more about how to search for and secure an internship during this coming academic year or to plan for next summer, check out our web page on Internships.