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College Career Services – A Critical Component of the College Search

I confess. I have not always included a college’s career services as part of the research I guide my students through for each of the schools on their college list. Mission statement, check. Curriculum and faculty, check. Facilities such as labs and maker’s space, check. Residence life, Greek life, and clubs – check! Career services? I have been like the second semester senior that is entering the office for the first time.

College Career Service’s Purpose

Helping college students find work in their field after graduation is the last piece of the puzzle for a dynamic Career Services office. The professionals that staff these offices hold a master’s degree in counseling or similar, many with educational backgrounds specifically on college student development issues. And students receive all their expertise at no additional cost above their tuition and fees.

These professionals will help students discover their future career, decide which academic major will get them there, and even mentor them throughout their undergraduate career. Because Career Services offices are typically affiliated with the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), have connections with hiring managers at top companies and can offer practical insight into how those companies make their hiring decisions, they can tell students if they are hitting the mark academically to be at the front of the applicant pool in the future.

College Career Services Offerings

Peterson’s 2020 survey of seniors applying to college and their parents, included the question:

“If you (your child) had a way to compare colleges based on their reputation with regard to their career services offerings, how much would this contribute to your (your child’s) decision to apply to or attend a school?”

The majority (66%) said that it would contribute “Very Much” or “Strongly” to their decisions. Parents and students are increasingly evaluating the ROI of a college education given that getting a good job is the #1 reason why Americans value higher education.

Students should look for these resources when researching colleges:

  • Job fairs on campus

  • Job and internship listings

  • Networking opportunities with employers, including alumni of the college

  • Frequent academic advising

  • Graduate school advising

  • GRE, MCAT, and LSAT prep services

  • Pre-tests and study sessions

  • Resume and cover letter writing

  • Job Interview Prep/Mock interviews

College Career Services Offices on the Cutting-edge

Purdue University’s Center for Career Opportunities website organizes the university’s wealth of resources intuitively which makes students job searches easier and less stressful. Students can interview on campus, making juggling school commitments more doable. CCO even has a Career Closet which collects donations of business attire for students without the budget for an interview appropriate wardrobe.

Northeastern University’s Employer in Residence program gives companies actual offices in the Career Development Center to increase interaction with students. Potential employers are frequent panel presenters about career fairs and resumes. Northeastern’s boundless approach to building connections between students and recruiters has earned them best in class by both Best Colleges and the Princeton Review.

Elon University’s Student Professional Development Center has a Corporate and Employer relations team just for the 6,000 undergraduate students. The staff of five (5) works to invite employers to build relationships with students through professional development activities such as mock interviews, career panels, and resume reviews. The SPDC even offers students customized Elon Calling Cards to hand out during interviews, internships, and networking events.

More and more universities are taking a whole new approach to getting students to start thinking about their careers. At Bentley University freshman begin taking career preparedness classes and meet regularly with the career services team; so, that by senior year students are prepared with knowledge and skills, and ready to tackle their biggest career goals.

Mea Culpa

And you can be sure that Royal College Consulting students will now include College Career Services offices as part of their research to find their best fit college.

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This blog was written Janice Royal, MA. She is the Founder and CEO of Royal College Consulting.

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