July 20, 2016 | By NACE Staff
Career services offices are constantly searching for new ways to meet students early in the college process to establish connections, and share knowledge, resources, and services. At Concordia University, Nebraska, potential students have the opportunity to meet with career development staff members before they even make their college decisions.
A 2013 request by the volleyball coach for Corey Gray to speak with a top recruit about the opportunities at Concordia for undecided students led to the standard practice of the career development office being a destination for all prospective students during campus visits.
“Since that meeting, almost all other athletic programs have added career development meetings as a part of the college visit process,” notes Gray, Concordia University, Nebraska’s director of career development.
The individual visits with recruits take 30 minutes and cover basic career assessment tools, specific academic program information, post-graduation opportunities, the campus atmosphere of professional development, faculty and staff investment, and community support.
“At this time, we share institutional career outcomes data, as well as specific outcomes data within each program,” Gray explains. “This includes a comparison to other institutions as requested. The main purpose of these meetings is to reassure families that we are holistically invested in their success and so that students get to see the personal buy-in from the career development staff.”
He notes that success in athletic recruiting has led to campus-wide integration of career development into campus visits. The admissions office has made the career development office a required stop on the campus tour for all visiting students.
During these sessions, student diplomats go through the role of the career development team with each of their tour groups, and when available, a career development representative briefly meets with each visitor.
“These brief meetings take three to five minutes, and act as an opportunity to reassure families that there is a real person on site who has similar goals for their students,” Gray explains. “The process is warmly received by diplomats, admissions counselors, visitors, and their families.”
In addition to the career development office visits, the admissions office now lists meetings with career development staff as an option for all college visitors; admissions highly recommends these meetings for students who are undecided.
“Career development has long been a part of large visit day presentations to students and families,” Gray points out. “This new process has been above and beyond. The anecdotal stories from staff and parents of the success in athletic and institutional recruiting is enough to consider the partnership between campus-wide recruiting and career development offices everywhere.”
The growth in the use of this option is a telling figure regarding its success. During the 2013-14 academic year, there were fewer than 10 individual recruit visits with career development and in 2014-15, the number of individual visits rose to around 20. However, during 2015-16, individual visits with career development jumped to more than 80.
“We are clearly meeting a growing need for prospective college students,” Gray says. “In a profession in which our success is measured by the success of others, Concordia University, Nebraska, continues to perpetuate our identity to be a campus community, invested in our approach to vocation. One more handshake, one more conversation, and one more opportunity to share our culture with potential students will continue to be part of our recruiting process moving forward.”
Median number of professional career services staff
Percent of career centers housed in student affairs division
Median square footage of career center
Percent of career centers offering for-credit career classes
Percent of career centers conducting first-destination surveys
2017-18 Career Services Benchmark Survey