Careers 201—For parents of second-year students
Generally, during the second year of college, a student begins to
explore majors and career options more seriously. Many colleges and
universities require that new students take a broad range of subjects to
promote this exploration.
What's your role in this step of development?
- Don't insist upon a decision about a major or possible career choice
immediately. If you sense that your student's indecision is a barrier to
positive progress, urge that he or she look for assistance in the career
center. Students often have difficulty making a "final" choice because
they fear they may close off options and make a wrong choice.
- Suggest that your son or daughter talk with faculty and career advisers
about potential choices.
- Don't assume that if your child chooses to major in English, history,
philosophy, or some other "impractical" major that he or she will never
get a job. Liberal arts studies sharpen skills which are critical to the
"package" employers are seeking: strong written and oral communication
skills; problem-solving skills; the ability to synthesize information;
and excellent research skills.
- Suggest learning a foreign language and developing computer skills. Both
of these skills can be helpful in today's market, no matter what career
field he or she chooses!
- Direct your child to family, friends, or colleagues who are in fields in
which your student has an interest. "Informational interviewing" with
people can be extremely helpful at this stage!
- Steer your child toward a source of information. Many campuses have a
career consultant or mentoring network of alumni in various career
fields who are willing to share information with students about their
careers. These resources are invaluable both in this exploratory stage
and later as students are seeking internships and jobs!
Thanks to the
National Association of Colleges and Employers for