When should my son or daughter starting visiting Career Services?
Career Services welcomes students from their first days on campus. There are open house orientations to the office scheduled during orientation for freshman, but students can come in for an orientation to the office at any time of the year. The beginning months of a student's college career can be quite busy and sometimes Career Services is not the first office on campus that students need to visit as they orient themselves to the new college environment. However, counselors at Career Services can discuss potential majors with students, given their interests and courses they are taking or have taken as early as the beginning of fall semester freshman year.
Counselors from Career Services make presentations and hold programs throughout the year in various campus locations including the residential colleges and the Frist Campus Center. The topics of these programs are geared to students of all years, but those held in the residential colleges are geared specifically to freshmen and sophomores. By the end of the fall semester or beginning of spring semester of a student's freshman year, students can begin to search for summer opportunities and the Career Services office is a great place to begin that search.
What should my son or daughter major in?
Many times college majors do not translate into specific career fields. The staff at Career Services encourages students to choose classes, and a major, that they enjoy. All students graduating from Princeton will have fundamental analytical, critical thinking, problem solving, and writing skills to carry them through a variety of professional positions, regardless of their majors. Career Services encourages students to take a wide range of courses and then select a major that they find intriguing and in which they can find topics for independent research in which they are interested. Faculty and Directors of Studies are the primary advising contacts for students so it is critical that students speak to them. Students are also encouraged to speak with Department Representatives in different departments, current upperclass students in various departments as well as attend the Majors Fair held each fall. Counselors in Career Services can also talk to students about their interests and potential majors that might be of interest as well as guide them to useful resources in our Career Library.
What if my son or daughter does not know what he or she wants to do?
Many college students do not know what they truly want to do during college or even as they prepare to graduate. If a student is confused or unsure about his or her interests and potential options, the counselors at Career Services are available to meet with students to discuss their interests. After a career counseling appointment, if the student and counselor agree that it would be helpful, the student can take a career assessment that the counselor will review with the student. Information about the assessments available through Career Services are listed on the Career Inventories link on the Start page of the Undergraduate menu.
Another very helpful resource for students to use to learn about what people with similar backgrounds and interests do for careers is to search our online Alumni Careers Network. This database holds the names and contact information of approximately 5000 Princeton alumni who are willing to talk with students about the choices they made in terms of majors, careers and professional schools. Alumni can also speak to students about what they do in their jobs, giving students the opportunity to learn about a variety of career opportunities while making connections with Princeton alumni at the same time.
What are some specific ways that parents and family members can help their students with the career exploration and job search process?
Support of loved ones during the career exploration process is very important and helpful for students. Parents and family members should talk to students about their interests and encourage them to explore different areas of study and career options. If your son or daughter is interested in a field of work that either yourself or someone you know personally is involved in, offer to arrange an informational interview or "shadow day" so the student can ask questions about the field and meet other people with similar interests. Also, encourage your son or daughter to visit the Career Services office to learn of the services we have to offer throughout their college career. Any parent or family member who has specific questions about the career exploration or job search process or how to help their student is encouraged to contact the Career Services office and speak to a counselor.