Lifelaunchr is a regular contributor to the Edmodo Blog. With articles written by Venkates Swaminathan, Founder/CEO of LifeLaunchr, the site provides parents and students with virtual and in-person coaching for all aspects of college planning, starting as early as freshman year. Watch for a new post regularly on the Edmodo blog and find out how you or your student can better prepare for a life-changing experience in college.
When visiting a college or speaking to an admissions rep, parents and students ask many questions: “Will the college cater to my child’s dietary needs?” “What’s the student-to-faculty ratio?” “How many students go on to prestigious graduate schools?” One question most parents and students don’t think to ask is “How good is the college career center?” That’s not surprising since career centers on campus are one of the more under-utilized resources offered by colleges. But used right, they can make the difference between an education that really pays off vs. one that doesn’t.
- Career centers aren’t just for jobs after college: Students should start visiting the career center early during their college career. They can start as early as freshman year. Visiting will help students learn about internships they can do during college and job opportunities for students from companies in the area. They can also take career interest inventories to explore what kind of careers might be best for them. That information can be helpful in picking the right major.
- Career centers can be great places to build relationships: One of the great lessons of life is that “it ain’t what you know, it’s who you know.” Building relationships with people at the career center and with potential employers in the region can pay off big time after college. When career center staff think about who to suggest for a job opening, they are much more likely to think of someone they already know. Many career centers also connect students with alumni who can be a great resource when applying for jobs.
- Career centers can a resource for any job search: Whether you’re applying for work on-campus or off, whether it’s a job or a research assistantship, you’ll need a great résumé and cover letter. You’ll also need help thinking through your skills and qualifications. Career centers can help with all of these things.
- Career centers can help you find a graduate school that fits your goals: Many college career centers will also help students find a graduate program that fits their interests and goals. Nationwide about 15% of college undergraduates go on to graduate school. If you might be in that category, this is a great reason to visit the career center!
QUESTIONS ABOUT CAREER CENTERS FOR ADMISSIONS COUNSELORS
In speaking to a college admissions counselor, or when visiting a college, here are some great questions to ask:
- What services does the career center offer? Services offered by career centers can vary widely. Some offer access to internships, career counseling, tools, and have deep lists of regional employers they work with. The University of Massachusetts, Amherst Career Center, for example, offers a comprehensive set of services from tools to career advisers who work with students on good prospective careers, employment skills, interviewing technique and dress code.
- How proactive are they? The career centers at some schools offer seminars, webinars, talks from local companies, and many other events to draw in and engage students. The University of Illinois’ Career Center, for example, offers events nearly every day.
- How good is the career center website? Some university career centers have websites that offer many services online: online interviews, personal statement reviews, and other tools. For example, Pennsylvania State University’s Career Services department offers recorded mock interviews with feedback where students can learn how to interview for job opportunities effectively.
- What kind of corporate partnerships does the career center have? Some career centers make a high priority of developing deep corporate partnerships to help students land great jobs after college. Texas A&M University, for example, has many corporate partners who work closely with the Career Center to hire students.
Finding a university with a great career center can be an immense help in landing a career-track job after college. Given how expensive college is, that can make a huge difference.