Investigating career centers at colleges and universities

Consider looking into the career centers at colleges and universities to help prepare for the workforce.

Students attend college after graduating from high school to qualify for a career that requires a postsecondary degree. Postsecondary degrees consist of a certificate, license, an Associate’s, Bachelor’s, Master’s, or a Doctorate. Seeking and acquiring a job takes preparation during the college years. Michigan State University Extension encourages students getting ready to attend a college to check into the types of departments and resource tools that the school offers to help prepare them for their career. Here is a question that a high school student should ask him or herself when selecting a college, “What does the college have to offer to help me prepare for my career?”

First, important career exploration activities for college students include job shadowing and internships. Job shadowing allows a college student to go on-site to a job and observe and interview someone in the career field that they’re interested in. This is also an opportunity for the student to find out if they have further interest in that career field. An internship allows a student to put his or her career desires to action before actually entering the working world. The student will have an opportunity to work at a job related to his or her major and gain experience and get a sense of if the work of that career is a correct fit. Many college career centers offer these types of activities for students to prepare for the workforce.

Gaining experience from these activities is important, but it takes more than experience from job shadowing, internships, past jobs and a degree to start a career after graduation. Learning how to search for a job, networking to make contacts for a job, completing job applications, writing resumes, and interviewing are other skills needed to help prepare students to get a job.

When students in high school are making campus visits to colleges, consider taking a visit to the college’s career center. Michigan State University has the MSU Career Services Network for students enrolled at the university looking to prepare for their career. Students can ask or search for answers to these questions:

  • How can I get involved in job shadowing or an internship?
  • How will the career center assist me in learning about networking, resume writing, and interviewing?
  • How often are their job fairs?
  • Are there networking events to help me make contacts?
  • Are there seminars and workshops offered to assist me in my career preparation?

Finally, students in high school can begin preparing for their career before they attend college. Michigan 4-H Youth Development has resources in Career Preparation to encourage youth to begin thinking about their future. Pursuing and earning a college degree and getting a job are important steps however career preparation of current college students is just as important. College career centers provide college students the resources and answers to prepare these students for their careers. Encourage youth to explore the career centers before college to become aware as well as utilize them throughout their college years to get the most of out of their chosen school.

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