Moving from College Into Career: Is Your Student Career Ready?

Remember four years ago when you may have wondered whether your student was ready with the necessary skills for college? Wondered whether they realized how different college would be from high school? Now, as your student graduates from college you may have similar concerns. Is your graduate ready for a career?

Being career-ready is more than simply learning academic and/or technical skills. It includes understanding the world you are about to enter.

Does my student have an accurate picture?

The transition from college into a career is a big one, but students may not be sure how the workplace will be different. School has been your student’s world for the past 16+ years and it is the world they know.

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Help Your College Grad Feel Better About Moving Back Home

If you have a student graduating from college or graduate school in the next few weeks, chances are you may be getting that bedroom or basement ready to welcome them home again. It can be an emotional time – and you and your student may have different emotions about the impending living arrangements.

The last few weeks of senior year, including senior festivities and all of those activities surrounding “lasts” and Commencement, are both exhilarating and exhausting. Your student will be moving from the ultimate high to coming face-to-face with the reality of determining what’s next. Or it may be possible that your student graduated a year or two ago, gave a try to a new job and living on their own and is now returning home once again to rethink whether that was the right move.

Your student has become one of the Boomerang Generation – returning back to where they started. They aren’t alone. According to the Wall Street Journal, the percentage of students living at home with parents is the highest it has been since 1940. The Pew Research Center in 2016 found that 32 percent of young adults 18-34 were living at home. Seventy percent of those were happy with the arrangement, 96 percent helped with routine chores, and 75 percent contributed to expenses.

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Book Review: From Classroom to Career

From time to time, we like to review some of the books available for parents of college students or for parents to share with their students.  There is a wealth of literature available to help parents cope with the transition to college and the changes that occur throughout the college years.  There is something for everyone.  See the Recommended Reading section of our Resources page for more suggestions and reviews.

Graduating from college and moving into a career is a scary moment. Shirley Morrison’s From Classroom to Career: How to Network, Nail the Interview, and Navigate for Success can help take some of the mystery and intimidation out of the situation. This book is chock full of practical advice for establishing and advancing your career and can help students feel more comfortable as they enter the workforce.

There is no shortage of books of advice about how to prepare for and enter the workforce. Most students, by the time they graduate from college, know how to fashion a resume, network with contacts, seek out opportunities, prepare for an interview, and even negotiate a salary. But all of this is sometimes abstract or formulaic advice.

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What’s Your Student’s Transcript Story?

When your student graduates from college and begins that all-important job search, they need to find ways to stand out from the crowd. There’s a lot of emphasis on writing a compelling cover letter and crafting an impressive resume. These tools are essential. (If you haven’t talked to your student about these, make sure that conversation happens.)

But beyond cover letter and resume, your student will need to be able to tell their unique story. What are their passions? What are their areas of growth? What challenges have they overcome?

One way to begin to craft that story is to begin with their college transcript.

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Does Your College Student Have an Advisory Board?

Most college students crave independence. It’s what the teenage years are all about, and as students head off to college they have an opportunity to spread their wings and exercise that independence. It’s an important stage of development (although it’s sometimes a difficult time for parents.)

So what’s the problem?

For many students, the problem is that they feel that being independent means that they must do everything on their own. Asking for help or guidance means that they aren’t truly independent.

Of course, that isn’t true. We all need guidance. We all have times when we need to ask for help. Being independent means knowing when you need help, finding the people who can provide that help, and being brave enough to advocate for what you need.

This is why your student needs a personal advisory board.

What is a Personal Advisory Board?

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of any company rarely runs the company single-handedly. Most CEOs have a Board of Directors who advise them and help make the decisions that guide that company.

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Moving From Graduation Season into Summer

If you have a high school or college senior, both you and your student are most likely focused on the finish line — graduation! Your student has worked hard to get here, it’s been a long time coming, and this last year has probably be especially trying for everyone.

First, there may still be a few weeks remaining of that all-important final year. Help your student stay focused and help them ride the many emotions they may be feeling. Be sure to attend to the details that may be necessary to wrap things up and prepare for that final event.

Second, enjoy the occasion. It will probably look different this year than you imagined a few years ago, but the milestone is just as momentous. Relax (easier said than done), smile a lot (even if it’s still behind a mask), and share in your student’s excitement (and maybe a little trepidation as well.)

Then, once all of the festivities are over, it’s time to change focus and begin to ease into summer and begin to anticipate what’s next.  It’s a time of transition and change for everyone — whether your student is leaving high school to head to college or the workforce, or whether they are heading to college. It’s time for the next step — for both your student and for you.

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Informational Interviews: Your Student’s Tool for Career Exploration

Your student is entering college and is undecided about a field of study or the career they want to enter. Your student is a sophomore, junior, or senior, is moving ahead in their major, but is unsure about the career they would like to pursue. Perhaps your student is a senior, approaching graduation, and would like to learn more specifics about a particular career — or begin to make some connections that may ultimately lead to a job.

These are very different scenarios, but they all have one solution in common: the informational interview.

What is an informational interview?

An informational interview is an opportunity for your student to learn about the real-life experience of someone who works in a job or field that interests them, or to learn about a field of study that they are considering. Your student might think of an informational interview as another research tool in their career exploration.

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Junior Year: Time to Take These 10 Steps Toward a Career

Your college student has made it through the first years of college!  Congratulations! They’ve survived the transition to college and weathered the sophomore slump. Now in their junior year, they’ve passed some big hurdles, but they’re not yet in that final lap toward graduation.

Junior year can be a difficult one.  It is the time when most students are deep into the work of their major. They’re hitting difficult courses, and they know they’re running out of time to learn all they need to know and do all they need to do before they graduate, but the finish line isn’t quite in sight yet.

By senior year many students will have one foot out of the door. They anticipate working on their resume, visiting the Career Office, interviewing, and aiming for that first job.

But students who wait until senior year will already be behind on their career preparation. Junior year is an ideal time for the work of preparing for the job market.

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Commencement: Are You Ready for the Pomp and Circumstance?

graduate blows confetti at commencement

For many college students and their parents, the finish line is in sight.  Commencement is here, or at least just around the corner.  Students have worked hard to reach this final moment.  Parents have been patient (most of the time), have supported, have worried, have encouraged (most of the time), have paid tuition again and again, and everyone has probably had moments when they wondered if this time would ever come.

But the season of Commencement is finally here, with all of the ceremony and pomp and circumstance that accompany it.  Most college students have experienced a high school graduation, which may or may not have been as formal as college Commencement.  Some students, and their parents, may be wondering what to expect, and what the experience will be like.

What happens at Commencement?

The format of commencement may vary according to the nature of the school, the size of the class, the weather, the location, or the particular traditions of the institution.  Some ceremonies are very unique, however, many factors may be similar no matter where the ceremony occurs.

Commencement is the capstone experience of the student’s academic career.  It is generally a dignified, formal occasion and marks the formal action of conferring and receiving academic degrees.  Degrees are conferred on the candidates by the presiding officer (usually the college president) after they have been recommended or presented by another official (often a dean or provost).

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It’s a Special Season for Parents: Graduation and Gifts!

Graduation is a special season for your student — and for you!  Whether your student is graduating from high school or from college, the event marks a milestone.  Your student is proud, you are proud, and everyone should celebrate. This is an achievement worthy of praise and of celebrating accomplishments — and the future.

For many families, graduation also means gifts, and many parents stress over finding just the right gift for this big occasion.  We’d like to share a few thoughts — and then offer some help to get your creative juices flowing as you try to think of the perfect gift.

What should you think about as you decide on a gift?

  • Of course, gifts of money are always appreciated. This is especially true if you know there is something that your student would like that might be a big expense, or something that you know your student would like to pick out himself.  Cash is always welcome.
  • As you think about a gift, think about everything that you know about your student. What does she love?  What are her interests?  What kinds of things excite her or are especially meaningful to her?  You know your student better than anyone.  Build on that knowledge to make your gift especially personal.
  • Think about the transition that your student is making. What’s next?  If your student is finishing high school, will he go on to college, living on his own, a new job, technical school?  If your student is graduating from college, is he going on to graduate school, career, a first apartment?  Find a gift that speaks to that new phase in his life.
  • Perhaps you’d like to focus on something commemorative and lasting. Something that your student will cherish and that will always show your pride in him.
  • You might like to aim for something sentimental. Perhaps there is something from childhood or a gift that represents earlier generations of the family.  You might share a piece of family jewelry or a treasured family heirloom.
  • And nothing can be more personal than a handwritten letter from you expressing your pride, your dreams for your student’s future, and your love.

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