Most students need some time to make the adjustment from high school to college. Because first semester grades will affect overall GPA and the ability to meet requirements set by potential employers, students should take the first semester on campus to focus on academics and campus life. Students should register on connectSC to get familiar with the Career Center website and services. We encourage students to come to the Career Center during the second semester for a quick orientation about what we do and how we can help.
Goals for the spring of the first year:
- Students should be registered on connectSC
- Develop a first draft of a resume and see a career counselor for feedback
- Attend Investigate Industries & Internships (i3) to help understand potential industries and career paths.
During the sophomore year, students should explore their interests and test their perceptions of career fields. This is the year students typically declare a major and they should feel comfortable with that choice and the foundation it will provide for their first job. Your student has probably mastered the skill of research while completing class projects and will be able to use these research skills to manage “project me.”
Goals for the second year:
- Visit the Internship Programs office (STU B1).
- Make sure they are registered on connectSC.
- Research and apply for internships or career-related part time jobs.
- Register for a course to receive academic internship credit, if the internship is unpaid.
- Join a professional association as a student member to learn more about options.
During this year, your son or daughter will be exploring options for life after college. There are many decisions, some more difficult than others, that need to be made at this stage. Is graduate or professional school in the future or will it be full-time employment? Many students struggle with finding “what they really want to do.” The Career Center is able to facilitate discussion of their options to help students with the decision-making process.
Goals for the third year:
- Attend career fairs to find out more about companies and who is hiring.
- Complete the OCR (On-Campus Recruiting) contract to be eligible to apply and interview for full-time summer internships through connectSC.
- Apply for an internship.
- Develop a list of possible full-time employers.
- Identify USC alumni through the Career Network to serve as advisers to the job search and perform informational interviews.
- If graduate school is on the agenda, research schools, fellowships and admissions requirements.
Typical questions students include “What are you going to do after graduation?” “Do you have a job yet?” “Have you been accepted to medical school?” Your student may be very undecided at this point in time. Perhaps their friends will return from the summer with full-time job offers from an internship and he or she may begin to feel that they are out of the loop and falling behind. However, students need to know that each career field has its own hiring cycle. For example, Finance, Investment Banks, Consulting and Accounting do the majority of their full-time hiring in the fall.
Goals for the fourth year:
- Meet with a career counselor early to focus their search.
- Complete the OCR Contract to be eligible to apply and interview for full-time employment though connectSC.
- Research employers and keep up by reading trade publications. Don’t forget web sites.
- Finalize resume and review it with a career adviser and USC alumni in the career field of their choice.
- Schedule a mock interview.
- Stay healthy and focus on completing your degree requirements while maintaining a high grade point average.
Your student’s ability to utilize the Career Center as an undergraduate doesn’t end at graduation; it stays with them as they begin their new journey as USC alumni. The staff at the Career Center is readily available to help your student discover their career options both now and in the future.