Advice for Parents: Help Guide Your Student to the Right Major

seven students walk through Science Hall

No one knows your children better than you do. You know their interests, strengths and weaknesses. And when it is time to decide what career path they should take, you need to step up and guide them in the right direction. Almost 50% of students entering college are undecided about their majors. In addition, two of every three students will change their majors at least once before graduating. So, parents, your kids need your advice when facing with such important decisions like choosing the right Rowan major. Here are some ways you can help:

Support Your Student

possible-feature-photoIn today’s economy, many parents impose on their students more “employable” degrees, like STEM instead of music or acting. However, if you wish happiness for your children, then you can’t force them to do something their heart doesn’t belong to. In fact, students are the ones who will be performing the jobs for at least the next 30 to 40 years, not parents. Surround your student with love and support, especially if they can’t decide who they want to be in their future.

Remind your children of any clubs that they enjoyed attending, any classes they liked more than others and share your own career experience. And if asked, provide feedback about your student’s skills, abilities and even weaknesses or fears. Moreover, nudge your student to consult with the Office of Career Advancement (OCA) to choose the right major, craft a resume, and find a perfect job or an internship.

Once you help your child to find the best major, advise him or her to create a Profs Jobs (online career management system) account to find what other skills employers are looking for and explore full-time, part-time or summer jobs, including internships.

Attend Career Advancement Events

I bet you don’t want your student to show up at the Career Fair in his best pair of sneakers or her open toe five inch heels. Encourage your student to dress professionally. Not sure what business attire includes? No worries, OCA has got your back.  The “Dress for Success” page is where you can find a list of professional dress for men and women. Since now you know how to ‘dress to impress’ your student, let’s talk about campus events that can help your student choose the right major. (And, if you can hook your student up with a trip to help them buy their first professional clothes, we are sure it would be much appreciated.)

14541090689_8f8cc4e184_oEvery year OCA hosts career fairs, graduate school fairs, federal government & non-profit organizations fairs and the Ask-An-Alum programs. At the events, your student can talk to prospective employers and see what daily tasks include, what the requirements are and decide whether it is something your teen would like to approach in the future.Visit this page for a full list of career events.

Additionally, help your student understand who they really are and who they can become. The OCA offers an online self-assessment program,  Focus-2 to help students explore the areas of their interest and make important career and educational decisions.

Networking & Internships

Think about your colleagues, neighbors and friends. Is there someone who can help your teen? Most likely, you know someone (or someone who knows someone) in the career field of your teen’s interest. Ask that person to talk to your son or daughter about daily work routine and share pros and cons of the job. And if possible, send your student to job shadow the professional for a day.

Inspire your student to conduct multiple informational interviews. Not only do informational interviews help to choose the right major, but  they also expand student’s network and may even lead to internships and entry-level jobs. And if your student is not planning to take any internships, then help to point them in the right direction to find a summer job or some volunteer work to learn skills and gain experience in the field of interest.

Let your children take charge of their future and if necessary refer them to the Office of Career Advancement, where they can find answers about their future major or career path. And don’t forget to let us know how you helped your student choose the right Rowan major.

By: Natalia Panfilova