College students face many important and life-altering questions during their years in school: What major should I declare? How will I land a job after graduation? Should I apply to graduate school? These decisions can weigh heavily on students as well as their parents who try to help them navigate the seemingly endless options.
So what can you do as a parent to ensure that your child makes the right choices during this critical time? College career coaching is one way to bypass the frustration, stress and missteps that trip up so many young adults. Here are three signs that career coaching could be beneficial for your college student:
- They’re Unsure of Their Major
Choosing a major can be a challenge, especially when students are faced with over a thousand different academic programs. Evidence suggests that most college students need guidance:
- A 2013 study of ACT test-takers found that while around 80 percent of students claimed they knew what subject they wanted to study in college, only 36 percent had selected a major that actually fit their interests. As a result of this mismatch, many people later find that they do not enjoy their chosen profession and that the work does not align with their passions and talents.
- The same ACT study also found that around 62 percent of high school students needed additional help with educational and occupational planning.
- An estimated 20 to 50 percent of students begin college as “undecided” and around 75 percent change their major at least once before they graduate.
- Many colleges and universities offer career counseling, yet findings suggest that these resources fall short of expectations. One study found that merely 8 percent of students found their college career center consistently helpful.
When trying to determine a major and a career, there is absolutely nothing more important than for your child to identify their talents and abilities — and be able to articulate them. Then, armed with that knowledge, the next step is to identify the career that will best allow your student to utilize those talents and abilities. This is what will set them up for career success.
The challenge: Most young adults don’t have enough life and work experience to identify their talents and abilities on their own, and they’re unfamiliar with the vast array of career choices available to them. Working with a certified career coach will allow your child to gain greater self-awareness of their talents, interests, values and passions in order to identify their best career fit.
- They’re Ready to Enter the Workforce
Finding that first post-graduation job can be nerve-racking, no matter what grades your child earned in college or how many internships they had. College career coaching can help them prepare for interviews and stand out from the competition through:
- Interview coaching: By conducting a mock interview, a coach can help your child become much more aware of their verbal and nonverbal performance, and provide guidance around how to respond more effectively to interview questions — all of which sets your child up to be more confident, polished and poised when it comes time for the real interviews.
- Resume rewrites: In today’s marketplace, standing out to potential employers is becoming increasingly difficult. Creating a strong first impression with a concise, well-written resume is paramount.
- Personal branding: A great coach can help your student not only optimize their online profiles and develop their elevator speech, but can also go deeper to help them better manage their thoughts, beliefs and perspectives — these shape the core of one’s personal brand.
- They Have Questions About Graduate School
Because graduate school is a such a significant commitment of both time and money, it’s important to understand how earning a graduate degree will influence future prospects. Some students mistakenly assume that they must earn a graduate degree in order to enter a particular field. Psychology students, for example, might believe that their only option is to get a Ph.D. in psychology and become a psychologist without ever considering alternative options such as sales or human resources.
Career coaching can help your student:
- Determine if graduate school is the best option for them
- Figure out which graduate schools best fit their career goals
- Learn how to compose compelling applications to increase their chances of acceptance
- Hone their interviewing skills so they can make an excellent impression during those critical graduate school interviews
When your child is facing life-changing academic choices and occupational decisions, career coaching can help provide the guidance, support and insight necessary to make the best possible choices, whether they involve switching majors, heading out into the workforce or applying to graduate school.
Any other signs you would add to this list?