Parents & Family
Helping Your Student
As a parent or family member, you can learn about the resources available to UTB students by visiting the “Family Support Network" .
Additionally, below is a list of important web links you may wish to visit and learn about other services available to your student and consider saving them in your “favorites” on your computer.
Important and helpful web Links
It is difficult for students to transition into college life and it is more challenging to decide on a major and select a career path. As a parent, you can prepare yourself and help your student by learning about the resources the university offers, including career exploration and career counseling.
Career counselors assist UTB students with career guidance, and help them explore personal interests, skills and values. Additionally they provide students with information on useful resources.
Career Counseling is a process in which the students will:
- learn about themselves,
- prepare career objectives,
- explore career options,
- search for a personal career plan
Researchers have found that between 20 to 50 percent of entering freshmen are still undecided about their major and future careers. “Ignoring the process of how to choose a career combined with poor knowledge about academic requirements, can lead a student to make unrealistic career choices without proper understanding and guidance”. (Lepre, 2007). A study conducted by researchers (Chase and Keene in 1981) found that students who make career plans and declare a major earlier are more likely to have significantly higher grade point averages, take more classes and be academically motivated.
Undergraduate Degrees Offered at UTB
Learn about the many degrees and plans offered at UTB. Click on this link to view the list of college degrees.
Making a Career Decision
Deciding on a career to follow is a long process that requires students to learn about their personal values, skills, interests, personality preferences and motivations. Career counselors offer career inventories that help students conduct self-assessment. Additionally, students will be encouraged to look at past experiences and learn how these can be applied to a possible future career.
Students will be asked to list a series of jobs and careers, they have demonstrated interest in, and conduct research on each one of them by using the tools learned with the career counselor. Once the information is completed, the counselor will help students review each researched career and evaluate which one (s) fits better with the results of the career assessments (Choices) taken by the student. Following, the student will be encouraged to review the Occupational Outlook Handbook to conduct an extensive and more in-depth research on careers of their choice. Additionally, it is recommended to conduct informational interviews with professionals in the field and seek opportunities to volunteer in organizations, corporations and/or government agencies to obtain practical experience and explore jobs and professions. It is important for students to join student and professional organizations in order to network with upper classmen with common interests and with professionals in the field, respectively.
A good number of students change their program of study several times and many change it at least once during their college career (Gordon & Steele, 2003) . Although this can be costly and undoubtedly lengthen the time to complete a degree, selecting a major can help students improve academic performance and set clear career goals. The fact a student selects a major and he/she demonstrates interest in a field does not guarantee a career path or a job in a specific field. There are majors leading to prescribed fields like nursing, accounting, engineering, teaching; however, there are many who do not. Career counselors can assist students utilize the tools available on “Career Choices” to discover the various fields available for specific majors. Additionally, the career workshop series offered by the Student Success Center staff every semester showcase specific majors and the career fields open to those majors and the opportunities for employment.
Although students may have selected a major; this is clearly not the same as setting a career path. Student receiving career counseling will be guided to follow the four (4) year career plan the university has in place. Although selecting a major is important, it is not equivalent to setting a career path. This plan encourages students to shadow professionals in the field, volunteer at locations of interest, learn new skills, join organizations for students pursuing specific majors, participate in pay or unpaid internships, attend job fairs, prepare resume etc. etc.
All the above mentioned steps help students make decisions and set career goals. The decision about selecting a major choosing a field of work and taking job opportunities is a continuous process that will be present throughout the students’ life.
We can we help your student!
Ask your son/daughter to make an appointment with a career counselor as soon as possible.
Our Career Counselors offer
- individual and group career counseling sessions for students undecided about their major
- A career research library
- A career workshops series (advertised on “Announcements” and throughout campus)
- Referral to other UTB departments as necessary
- On line webinar “Career Search Investigation”
Career counselors are located in the Student Success Center in the MRC North Annex
Frequently Asked Questions?
Who can help my student select a major that is right for him/her?
Career counselors will help your student make a well informed decision using all resources available. However, it is most important for your student to find his/her “career passion” that fit his/her aptitudes and abilities rather than selecting a major based on family expectations, following a sibling/friend’s footsteps or because it is “hot in the market.”
What if my student changes his/her mind after completing more than two years of classes?
It is not unusual for students to change their mind about a specific major any time during their college years. This may be due to a realization that he/she does not have the required skills to execute well in mandatory classes; to the fact that he/she may not like to perform expected duties and/or responsibilities of the particular job or move away to secure a position in that field. Nonetheless, it is never too late to change majors.
Who is going to help my student find a job upon graduation?
Article: How to Help Your Child Choose a Career Path by Yvette Davis, e-how contributor
The office of Career Services is available to help your student compose a professional resume, prepare for interviews and identify jobs available to fit his/her major of study.
What if there are no jobs available in his/her field upon graduation?
According to Forbes magazine article by James M. Crotty, “The needs of this job-seeking [graduates] cohort are more granular. It is no longer sufficient to have quality undergraduate training in a specific area (say, journalism or architecture). Today’s employers can choose from candidates all over the globe. And what sets one applicant apart from another are skill sets that transcend one’s major or desired profession. We find that applicants often lack basic training in 21st century tech skills, such as programming, web design, and search engine optimization. In addition, applicants lack training in vital “soft skills,” including critical thinking and shared inquiry that come from a rigorous, deep chronological reading of “the Great Books” (not the leftist secondary source pablum fed to many undergraduates)” Consequently, it is more important to be prepared for the world of work of the future because within ten years after graduation, most people are working in careers that are not directly connected to their undergraduate majors. As Michael J. Leonard states “People change; careers change. The connection between the major that you choose now and the career that you'll find yourself in ten years from now is likely to be very small.” A college degree helps develop invaluable skills and abilities that can be applied to any field and opens doors of opportunities that otherwise would have remained closed.
How can my student prepare better for his professional career?
It is true that a college education opens many doors, however, it is not enough to ensure professional job. Our career counselors strongly recommend that your students engage in extracurricular activities from the moment school starts; to join a club/organization, to volunteer and seek opportunities for paid or unpaid internships. These experiences will help to develop more skills necessary for the world of work and will build up a resume nicely.
Other helpful resources;
“College is Only the Beginning”, edited by John N. Gardner and A Jerome Jewler;
“What Color is Your Parachute”, by Richard Nelson Bolles;
College is Only the Beginning, edited by John N. Gardner and A Jerome Jewler;
Article: "Helping Your Child Make Informed Career Decisions" by Robert Orndorff
What Can I Do With a Major In...? Monica Hernandez, Frank Coulson & Maria Longoria
Reality check; does your student have what it takes?
UTB Career Counseling Services
Lepre, Carolyn R. "Getting Through to Them:." The Career Development Quarterly
Volume 56 (2007): 76-84. Print.
Crotty, James Marshall. "60% Of College Grads Can't Find Work In Their Field. Is A Management Degree The Answer?" Forbes
. Forbes Magazine, 01 Mar. 2012. Web. 02 Oct. 2012. <http://www.forbes.com/sites/jamesmarshallcrotty/2012/03/01/most-college-grads-cant-find-work-in-their-field-is-a-management-degree-the-answer/>.
Leonnard, Michael J. "Major Decisions: Some Common Myths." Major Decisions: Some Common Myths
. Pennsilvania State University, 12 Mar. 2010. Web. 02 Oct. 2012. <http://dus.psu.edu/md/mdmisper.htm>.