The campus is beautiful. The academics are stellar. But what about career development? When personal and career development is a priority at a college or university, the institution teaches students how to live meaningful, purposeful, successful lives – not just how to land the first job after graduation.
The decision about which college to attend matters well beyond the four years a student is on campus, says Mercy Eyadiel, associate vice president of career development and corporate engagement at Wake Forest University. “Students need to ask the right questions to make an informed choice. During a campus tour, finding out what career development resources are available is important.”
These five questions can help high school students get a better idea of campus career support before making that important final choice.
1. What resources are available to help me explore different career paths, and when should I start using them? Look for a campus wide commitment to career development that engages students from their first days on campus and a career development office that partners with faculty, academic advisors, parents, staff and alumni to provide guidance and support from freshman through senior year and beyond.
2. What do students say about their career office? Talk with students on campus to learn which career development resources they are using and what they find most helpful. Check to see if students feel supported and understand that skills, not academic majors, matter.
3. Are there resources for students in any major? Some institutions offer enhanced and targeted support for students based on their field of study and post-college interests. Find out if there is intentional outreach to those students interested in pursuing careers in fields less represented through on-campus recruiting.
4. What resources are available to support networking? Learning about different kinds of work and what it is like to live in different parts of the country and world, helps students think through post-graduation choices. Ask what opportunities there are for students to meet with alumni working and living in cities nationwide and how the office supports students seeking internships and volunteer work — other important outlets for networking.
5. Where do students end up after graduation? A search of the school’s career development office website may be useful here if the institution posts their first-destination data. The National Association of Colleges and Employers provides standards on how to measure where students go after graduation — whether into jobs or graduate school. Find out what success looks like at each school being considered.
Wake Forest University is a national leader in rethinking the college to career experience and is at the forefront of transforming the traditional, outdated concept of “career services” into a holistic, four-year approach to personal and career development. The university is featured in The Princeton Review’s new book “Colleges That Create Futures: 50 Schools That Launch Careers by Going Beyond the Classroom.”