Parents and family can support a student in his/her career development, but you really need to make sure that you do so in a manner that is not overly involved.  Some recommendations:

  • Let your student make his/her own choice for a major and/or career. While it is tempting to say, “Major in this, or do this,” students need to develop their own career directions based on their own values, interests, personalities, and skills. This is what leads to success!
  • Connect your student with friends, family members, and neighbors to learn about possible careers and employers. 
  • Encourage an early start to career planning. While it doesn’t have to be in the first semester of the first year, we strongly encourage students to learn about us and to use our services as early as possible.
  • Encourage your student to gain experience through internships; assisting professors with research; study abroad or other international experience; living learning communities; service¬learning; joining student organizations; participating in student organizations as members or leaders; and other extracurricular activities. 
  • Help your student develop skills wanted in the work world. 
  • Emphasize the importance of connecting with faculty through office visits or before and after class. Their faculty as well as teaching assistants may know of internships and employers. They can also write references for employment and graduate/professional school. 
  • Refrain from becoming overly involved in your student’s job or graduate/professional school search. While a few employers may welcome a direct connection to parents, most do not. When a parent calls an employer to find out why their student didn’t get the job, the employer may wonder about your student’s maturity and ability to manage job responsibilities. If anyone should call, it should be the student. You can help them plan the call, but don’t make it.