• Tips for Connecting With First-Year Students

    Spotlight for Career Services Professionals
    August 7, 2013

    Engaging first-year students in career services can be a challenging undertaking. Following are several recommendations for making critical connections with these students:

    • Engage parents during 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.
    • Hold an open house—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 who attend. Most importantly, start building one-on-one relationships with students during the event’s informal networking.
    • 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.
    • Enlist the help of 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.