How Can Parents Help?

Many experts believe that students today -- more than in previous generations -- value their parents' opinions highly and look for parental encouragement as they make career plans. Here are a few of our suggestions for ways you can help

  1. Help your student see their strengths, areas for improvement and abilities. Ask questions about what they learned from their part-time jobs, summer jobs, or travel experiences to help them verbalize how they are growing and learning.
  2. Stress the importance of planning ahead and getting an early start.
  3. Be supportive if your student changes their major. While in college, many students learn more about their interests, abilities, and values and become better informed about career options. Changing majors can be a positive step towards student success.
  4. Encourage your student to apply for internships after their sophomore year or to volunteer to gain valuable career experience. If the experiences are unpaid, help them plan part-time work to continue to earn money for college.
  5. Suggest neighbors, coworkers, or friends who can talk with them about their careers. Teach them to network.
  6. Encourage your student to participate in the career programs here at Hiram, to use the website resources, and to visit the Career Center.
  7. Encourage your student to take risks. Whether it is moving to Alaska, studying in a different country, or trying a new career idea, college students need support for their ideas.
  8. Be patient. Decisions about the future take longer for some than for others.

If you would like to read more about the role you can play, we suggest two of many books on that topic. Both are generally available in bookstores.

  • Harris, Marcia B. & Jones, Sharon L., The Parent's Crash Course in Career Planning, VGM Career Horizons, 1996.
  • Montross, David H., Kane, Theresa E. & Ginn, Robert J. Jr. Career Coaching Your Kids, Davis-Black Publishing, 1997.
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Helpful Links

As parents, you may have questions about career development for liberal arts students. Please see the articles we have collected for a variety of interesting discussions.