As a parent, what can I do to help my son or daughter in their first year of college?
- Talk to your student and stay involved in his/her life. At times it may appear to you that your son or daughter does not want to talk to you. Be patient and always keep the channel of communication open. People of all ages need a varying degree of space at different times in their lives. However, most people do not want to "do it alone." More encouragement and less criticism is a "golden rule." Modeling good communication and negotiation skills provide building blocks your student will need to master.
- Encourage your student to explore career options and to visit our Center. We can help students decide their career paths and develop plans to reach their career goal. The online FOCUS Interest Inventory is available to all students.
- Suggest a job shadow either in your home town or ask the staff at the Career Center to locate a practitioner in the QC area.
- Getting involved in clubs and organizations on campus helps students acclimate with their home-away-from-home. Organized activities fill vacant time, helps students meet others, and gives them an opportunity to develop spiritually, physically, socially, and artistically. In addition to communication skills, employers look for leadership and the ability to multi-task in potential employees. Being involved in collegiate activities is one way of demonstrating those skills.
- Be supportive of your student's work study placement. This experience may be the first step in demonstrating a positive work ethic. Today's part-time work will influence future employment. Work study can be the practice field for your student's skill development in time-management, multi-tasking, communication, decision-making, meeting deadlines etc. Encourage your student to be prompt to work assignments, act confidently and not complain when it appears other students are given easier projects. If your student was not awarded work study they may look at other options to earn money: tutoring, babysitting, or other part-time jobs in the Quad Cities area.
- Suggest to your student that he/she begin their summer job search over the winter break. Students who jump-start their careers early with related work experiences are more likely to land that desired job after graduation.
Should I be concerned if my son or daughter is undecided on a major field of study and / or what if he/she wants to change majors?
- Many students bring with them pre-conceived career goals when they come to college. As students develop a better understanding of their skills, interests and values they may find it wise to alter their career direction. The curriculum in a liberal arts education allows students to find that understanding at an earlier level through general education requirements. Students are encouraged to identify their greatest abilities and strengths through academic challenges in a variety of courses. A significant number of students change their career direction during the first two years of college.
I want to be sure that my student will find appropriate employment following graduation. How can I help?
- Today's candidates for employment MUST be able to demonstrate that the knowledge from their academic programs can be applied to real life work experience. This increases the importance of internships and cooperative education. Encourage your student to visit the Career Center and take part in activities the Center supports: resume workshops, mock interviews, internships, etiquette dinners, career fairs and on-campus recruiting. The greater the involvement, the greater potential for getting the desired job following graduation.
- Talk to your student about making wise financial decisions and caution them on the use of credit opportunities. One concern is to begin building personal credit; yet another concern is learning how to use restraint in controlling that credit.