The Academic and Career Planning Center is dedicated to providing your son or daughter with services and resources to develop a solid academic and career path and prepare for life after college. But there are also a number of ways you as a parent can help your child succeed.
Choosing a major and planning for a career can be two of the most important but difficult decisions that a college student can make. Having a career plan is very important, yet many students don't know where to begin. The ACPC has a full-time career counselor that specializes in assisting students with this process. During a career session, students will explore their interests, abilities, and their values in order to find potential careers and college majors that can satisfy all areas. Encourage your child to make an appointment by contacting or stopping by the ACPC.
Internships and Co-ops
After a student decides on a career plan, the next step in the process is to add experience to that plan. In fact, some majors require that the student complete an internship before he/she graduates. The ACPC offers many services and resources to students to assist with securing internships, co-ops, part-time, and summer jobs, related to their major. Students who are interested in interning should visit the ACPC at least six months before the desired internship is to begin. Counselors will help to guide students through the process of investigating possibilities, as well as outline the internship application process, discuss student responsibilities and employer expectations, and provide assistance with resumes, cover letters, and interviewing.
Encourage your child to utilize our resources and services, but also to ask friends, family, neighbors, etc. for information on where they work and what they do. Students may be interested in interning at a company and not know that a friend or relative actually works there. The connections and networks he or she forms can provide valuable leads and information. Other notes: campus/community involvement, work experience, and good grades help students to "get their foot in the door," so encourage your child to develop those skills and experiences.
Full-Time Job or Graduate School Search
After gaining experience, it is important for students to think about life after graduation. The ACPC has a counselor who focuses on helping students develop the skills necessary to find and apply to full-time jobs and graduate schools. For full-time jobs, this includes developing effective resumes and cover letters, sharpening interview skills through videotaped practice interview sessions, learning to use the on-campus recruiting system for the many companies who recruit at Penn State, participating in Behrend's alumni networking training and practice sessions, signing up to receive e-mail job announcements, and researching leads to other companies not recruiting at Penn State. A full-time job search typically begins in the fall of the senior year because some companies recruit May graduates as early as the fall.
For graduate school, this involves identifying appropriate schools and programs, understanding the application process, identifying reference writers, and creating an effective application essay. The skills are taught in conjunction with Behrend's Learning Resource Center. Ideally, students have been developing their skills through internships and research with faculty throughout their college career, but they need to begin the graduate school research process in the junior year, especially if they are interested in highly competitive graduate programs.
Job Posting/Company Verification Disclaimer
Read the full disclaimer which describes the shared responsibility among Penn State Career Services (including University Park and Commonwealth Campus career offices) and internship/job seekers in researching and identifying potential concerns about the legitimacy of employers and their respective postings.
- Understand that it's very normal for new college students to explore their options and change their minds. Know that some decisions about a career choice or major need time. Be patient as your student considers the possibilities.
- Encourage your son or daughter to visit the ACPC early in their college career and then continue the visits until graduation.
- Encourage your son or daughter to think critically and analyze the situations they are in. Employers often comment that students are recently less able to communicate and analyze their skills, talents, values, and experiences, and that they often have difficulty making decisions on their own.
- While parental values are important, students will be required to make many life decisions when the parent is not there. Encourage them to think independently.
- Ask them what involvement they have with social networking sites like Facebook and make sure they are not posting photos or information that could compromise their career goals.
- As a parent or a family member, please feel free to encourage your company or organization to recruit and hire Penn State Behrend students. Individual job openings can be emailed or faxed to the ACPC, or recruitment visits can be arranged on either a individual basis or by attending the annual Behrend Career Fair in the fall. For more information please visit the Employer Services section of this Web site.