Why You Should Connect With A College's Career Center — Before You Even Apply


You're going to college so you can go into your dream career, right? So when you're touring a school's dorms, classrooms and basketball court, why wouldn't you also investigate whether it has experience helping students and grads get into their dream careers?

Career centers are important features of most universities, but prospective students are often unaware of the advantages that they can offer. From giving you insight into how many alumni are successfully pursuing a particular career to offering statistics about internship placement rates, you can find innumerable benefits by visiting the career center of the schools on your list.

Check Out the Career Center's Resources

When you set up a college tour or schedule time at an information session, it's a good idea to ask whether representatives from the center will be available.

Some schools, such as Philadelphia's Temple University, make sure that their career center staff members are on-hand at open houses and accepted student events. “We share information about our services and first destination success rates," said Rosalie Shemmer, senior director of the Career Center at Temple University. In addition, she adds, the school's website contains valuable career related information and links to the Temple University Fact Book, which also contains success rates for graduates. This combination offers a well-rounded view of potential careers that can help guide prospective students.

Career Centers Can Help Guide Potential Majors

In addition to sharing success rates of graduates and demonstrating the career resources available to students, the career center can help guide you toward potential majors that might suit your career goals.

“Many students are unsure of their major when they arrive on campus," Shemmer said. “There are also a large number who will change their major in the course of their four years as undergraduates. Students can meet with a career coach who can talk about interests and skills as they relate to careers and major course of study."

She points to Temple's online assessment tools that students can take to help guide their career paths. Many other colleges have similar platforms to offer in-depth views to students who are still investigating how to reach their career goals.

Once students have pinpointed their occupational aspirations, career centers can step in then as well. “The Career Center helps our students explore various roles through employer meetups, career fairs and through internships, fieldwork and research," Shemmer said.

Learn What the Internship Resources Will Be

When you visit the career center during your campus tour or open house, you should also ask what the internship resources are. Does the school help students find internships, or offer advice on how students can discover them independently? Can the college share statistics of what percentage of students who want internships are able to find them? Are the reps willing to let you see data about companies that hire interns from your school who share your career choice?

Gathering this type of information from the career center will help you establish a great basis on which you can build your career plans. In addition, forging a strong relationship with the career center representatives early on will allow you to feel at ease when you join the campus and you need career resources.