Spotlight for Career Services Professionals
June 20, 2012
To connect with first-year students and get them using career services early in their college career, try these recommendations:
- Open your doors—Remove some of the “scariness” of career services among first-year students by holding an open house. Invite students, parents, faculty, and administration. Provide a brief overview of your services and introduce members of your staff. Provide refreshments and hold prize drawings for all students that attend. Most importantly, start building one-on-one relationships with students during the event’s informal networking.
- Hold a session for parents who attend orientation—Introduce staff members and talk about their roles in your office. Discuss the parts that the career services office, the students, and their parents play in the career decision-making process. Talk about where their students may be in that process. Identify "next steps," including information about what comes after students have chosen a major, had internships, and begun the job search, and detail how parents can help encourage their students to come to the career center as first-year students. This interaction helps build a partnership between the career center and parents.
- Embed programming—Make career exploration and degree planning part of your school’s programming. For example, work with faculty to create an embedded career decision making module offered in a required first-year class. Have career counselors present to students about career decision making and invite them to access career assessments and services in the career center. An added bonus is that professors will become more informed about your services.
- Tap into your student advisers—Have your undergraduate peer advisers contact members of the first-year class to answer any questions the students might have and invite them to come to the career center for a 15- to 20-minute individual orientation.
- Make presentations to your summer students—Have career services staff members present workshops to students who participate in programs that have summer components so your representatives can meet and work with first-year students early before they begin formal classes.
Do you have a program or tip for working with first-year students that is particularly effective. If so, please contact Kevin Gray at firstname.lastname@example.org.