For Parents

Family, parents of female student

Resources for Parents

How To Help Your Son or Daughter With Career Decisions

The Carroll College Career Services staff recognizes and values the important role parents play in the career decisions of their son or daughter. Career Services can and should be an integral part of your son's or daughter's life at Carroll, and we offer programs and services which they can take advantage of all four years. However, unlike classes which are required for graduation, our services are voluntary. Students will be contacted by our office on a regular basis—usually through email messages—but we cannot require them to visit us. Your support and encouragement can go a long way to increase the probability that your son or daughter will use our services.

There are many new and interesting career paths in the 21st century that did not exist for our generation that your son or daughter will have a chance to explore. Please encourage them to be creative, to set goals, to follow dreams, to take chances, and to make mistakes and learn from them. They will all be the wiser for it, and it will set the stage for fulfilling, lifelong career opportunities.

To help you support your son or daughter, Career Services has compiled a list of suggested activities for students to participate in, organized by academic year in school. Additionally, we have provided lists of questions that you can use to begin productive discussions with them across all four college years, which will help provide answers to questions you may have as your son/daughter explores a variety of career choices, and that will help them recognize the importance of initiating their own career development process. 

Recommended Publications

To further assist you in helping your student with the college transition and career development, a list of recommended publications follows.

The Parent's Crash Course in Career Planning: Helping Your College Student Succeed
Sharon Jones, Marcia Harris, 2007

Career Coaching Your Kids: Guiding Your Child Through the Process of Career Discovery
David Montross, Consulting Psychologist Press 2004

When Your Kid Goes to College: A Parent's Survival Guide
Carol Barkin, Avon Books 1999

Don't Tell Me What to Do, Just Send Money: The Essential Parenting Guide to the College Years
Helen E. Johnson, Griffin Trade Paperback 2000

Parents' Guide to College Life: 181 Straight Answers on Everything You Can Expect Over the Next Four Years
Robin Raskin, Princeton Review 2006

Letting Go: A Parent's Guide to Understanding the College Years
Karen Levin Coburn, Harper Perennial 2003

You're On Your Own (But I'm Here if You Need Me):Mentoring Your Child During the College Years
Marjorie Savage, Fireside 2003

The Launching Years : Strategies for Parenting from Senior Year to College Life
Jennifer Wyatt & Laura Kastner, Three Rivers Press 2002

25 Ways to Make College Pay Off: Advice for Anxious Parents from a Professor Who's Seen It All
Bill Coplin, Amacom 2007


Don't have a major? Confused about what career path you wish to prepare for or what direction you want to take?

Career Services offers a one credit class each semester that can be taken on a pass/fail basis that will address these issues. The class begins immediately following Fall and Sping breaks.

Interested students simply contact the Registrar's Office and complete the registration process sometime prior to leaving for the break.

This class is appropriate for freshmen and sophomore students who need/desire assistance in determining an academic major or help in deciding upon an appropriate occupation or career path.

A $35.00 fee will be assessed to pay for the formal career inventories/instruments completed during the course of the class.


Job Search Boot Camp is a one-credit class in which studentslearn how to market themselves effectively as  candidates for employment in today’s economy and which sectors ARE hiring. There is plenty of reason to feel confident when one knows what to expect and how to present oneself and market one's skills.

Job Search Boot Camp is designed to provide forward looking juniors and graduating senior students with the necessary career management skills to effectively identify and compete for professional career opportunities. Activities covered in the course include principles, methods, and practice in achieving career goals with emphasis on: exploration of career opportunities in one’s field, job market trends, identification of strengths, resume development, cover letter composition, mastering behavioral-style interviewing, salary and benefits negotiations, effective networking strategies, budgeting and personal finance issues, professional image, and the use of technology in achieving career goals.


Questions? Contact Rosalie Walsh in Career Services

NACE for Parents

The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) has an excellent career development website for college students and their parents. (account is required to view articles)

Things Parents should know

Parents are the # 1 influence on their son's/daughter's educational and career choice


  • Major/field of study
  • Faculty/coaches
  • Job market trends
  • Friends
  • Media
  • Internships/summer jobs
  • School related activities


  • Experience is the key. Summer jobs, internships, and volunteering all are important.
  • Job seeking methods have changed somewhat, but not as much as one might think. The Internet is not enough--networking is still the most important activity.
  • Career decision making is a process and takes time.
  • The earlier students become involved in the process, the better.
  • Students often postpone their decisions, often because they do not want to take the time to do it, but also because they are not ready. It is important that you are there to encourage them along the way.

Stages of Career Development


Freshman Year: Learning about yourself

  • Check out the Carroll College Career Services website
  • Visit the Career Services Office
  • Start to explore various majors and get to know faculty
  • Join one or possibly two organizations where yoy can get involved, begin networking and explore activities you enjoy
  • Get the best grades you can
  • Consider taking the one-credit Career Exploration course each semester
  • Join Carroll College Career Services Alumni & Professional Networking LinkedIn Group

Sophomore Year: Begin to Focus

  • Identify interests, skills, work values
  • Develop preliminary goals
  • Create an initial resume
  • Seek out summer jobs that are of interest
  • Begin to explore possible internship opportunities
  • Investigate study abroad experiences available to Carroll College students and REU opportunities
  • Consider taking the one-credit Career Exploration course if you are still fuzzy about a career direction
  • Attend one of the "How to Land Your Ideal Internship" workshops offered only during Internship week which occurs early in the spring semester
  • Meet with our Internship Coordinator to begin making plans to land a great internship during junior year

Junior Year: Take Action

  • Become immersed in academic major
  • Revise resume; begin to create C.V. if considering grad school
  • Attend one of the "How to Land Your Ideal Internship" workshops
  • Take an internship
  • Find ways to gain good experience: take on leadership roles in your activities
  • Investigate graduate school and/or career options for your major
  • Attend one of the workshops on "Successful Graduate School Application," which are offered only during fall semester if considering graduate school
  • Prepare for and schedule graduate school exams if planning on this option
  • Register for the Job Search Boot Camp class if planning to enter the job market upon graduation--a one credit class that teaches students how to navigate the job search; offered both semesters

Senior Year: The Time is Now

  • Register for the Job Search Boot Camp class if not taken during Junior year
  • Finalize resume—-targeting appropriate job goal, or finalize C.V. for grad school
  • Attend the various events and workshops offered by Career Services
  • Conduct research with the staff of the Career Services office on employers and job search issues
  • Attend any alumni special events [including Homecoming related events] that may occur on campus in order to build a network
  • Create a timeline and plan for the graduate school application process or for transitioning into the job market after graduation

Moments when REALITY steps in

The steps indicated in the THROUGH THE COLLEGE YEARS section outline the ideal process that students should take, but keep in mind that “ideal” does not reflect reality.

Students often postpone their decisions, sometimes because they are not ready. Often, though, they do not want to take the time to do it--after all--they do not earn academic credit for it so they may not perceive the value of activities for which they do not receive a grade. It is important that you as the parent are there to encourage them to get the process moving as soon as possible.

But also to be their #1 source of encouragement along the way.

Ways to Help

  • Most importantly, honor their independence
  • Recognize that they are learning a whole new set of skills
  • Support them rather than doing it for them. Aim for guidance, not pressure


  • Reinforce the importance of starting early, and the importance of beginning to build up experience
  • Help them find and establish contacts
  • Reassure them that it is OK not to know what all of their career/ educational goals are, but that it is important to begin taking action

Encourage your son/daughter to:

  • Think ahead
  • Visit Career Services early in his/her college career
  • Do an internship--or two
  • Seek an interesting summer experience; this may be an internship an REU--Research Experience for Undergraduates, a study abroad experience
  • Get to know professors
  • Become involved in campus activities and organizations, and
  • Eventually take on leadership roles
  • Take the one-credit Career Exploration course as a freshman or sophomore student
  • Take the one-credit Job Search Boot Camp course as a junior or senior, which teaches students how to effectively navigate the job search


Freshman Student

  • What campus activities, organizations, clubs are you interested in joining?
  • What majors interest you? Why?
  • Have you been to visit Career Services? What type of services do they provide?
  • Which services do you think will be most useful to you?
  • Have you used the information in their Career Exploration section?
  • Have you explored the offerings on the Career Services websites under "Careers for Different Majors?"

Sophomore Student

  • Which are your favorite classes? Why?
  • Have you talked to your academic adviser or visited the Career Services to explore possible career areas?
  • Have you investigated the one-credit Career Development and Life Planning course?
  • Have you started working on a resume?
  • Have you considered taking an internship? What steps have you taken so far?

Junior Student

  • What summer jobs, internships, etc. are available for someone with your interests/major?
  • What are your plans immediately after graduation?
  • What are you thoughts about attending graduate school?
  • Have you taken advantage of any of the programs/workshops offered by Career Services?
  • Have you created a timeline and plan for the graduate school application process or for transitioning into the job market after you graduate?

Senior Student

  • What are some of the events/workshops being hosted by Career Services this year?
  • Are there any deadlines you should be aware of?
  • Have you prepared all of your job search materials? [resume, cover letter, job search plan/timeline, etc.]
  • When are your graduate school applications due?
  • Are there any remaining details you need to attend to?
  • You do not plan to move back home after you graduate, DO YOU?! [A little humor never hurts!]