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Career Services at Aquinas College


Your student is now an Aquinas Saint. This doesn’t mean your Saint will always be “saintly." He or she will make mistakes as they transition to adult life. Our goal is to enhance their development academically and personally. Aquinas College aims to enable students to have a well-rounded experience and to be ready for the world when they graduate.
At Career Services, we know that there can be challenges along the way. Students will be exposed to new ideas and a diverse culture that will be exciting and exhilarating. As they become involved with clubs and activities, latent interests and strengths will surface. Professors will become mentors and encouragers. Even so, students may be more stressed than ever as they feel pressured to excel academically, be active socially, and work part-time all while deciding specific career paths. Your Saint may have no idea what to major in let alone pursue as a career. Career Services is here to help.
Summer Employment: What to Know
Many students will take a break from classes in the summer. However, it is not a time to take a break from developing skills, gaining career experience or earning income. Encourage your student to start looking for summer jobs early.  Many students work at parks and recreation departments or summer camps. While making money is great, experience can sometimes be just as valuable.  Some students choose to do an internship or volunteer at places that build connections in their career field.  If your student is interested in going into health care, volunteering at a hospital, assisted living or nursing care facility would provide a means to both gain experience and network with health care professionals.  Summer opportunities with parks and recreation departments allow students going into education a chance to design activities for working with youth, which can also be added to their portfolio and résumé.

Whether it's a paid summer job or a volunteer opportunity, working throughout the summer will develop teamwork, communication and responsibility.  These are things that will help your student stand out to employers when they begin their career search.  If they have not already, tell your student to check out Career Services' job and internship listings on Handshake.
See our full list of articles for AQ parents: >Articles
Letters from Career Services to AQ Parents
Download (pdf):    Parent of a freshman    Parent of a sophomore    Parent of a junior    Parent of a senior
Assisting College Freshman
During this stage of choosing a career, the goal is to assess skills, interests and abilities. Freshman and Sophomores are strongly encouraged to take CD 100 at this time. (CD100 is a course required for graduation.) This Career and Self Exploration course helps students to find out about themselves and how their personality styles coordinates with various occupations. More career and self-awareness should help them if they are uncertain about choosing a major. They will also be developing a resume and learning about the job search.
Encourage your student's exploration of new interests and activities. The more clubs, volunteer work and other opportunities they participate in, the more they get to know what they like and don’t like. Talk about the courses they are enjoying. Remind them of their strengths. Suggest they visit Career Services if after taking CD 100 they still are unsure of career direction.
Guiding College Sophomores
If your Saint still hasn’t selected a major, don’t panic. Encourage them to talk to their advisors, professors or our career coaches about careers. If they haven’t take CD 100 yet, encourage them to take it. Suggest they do some “informational interviewing” with people who are working in careers they may be interested in. Your son or daughter can also set up an account in LinkedIn and connect with the Aquinas College group to build alumni connections. 
Be accepting if your Saint chooses a major that does not seem to have a direct tie to a career. Majors in English, history or other degrees can prepare students for the work world. Strong oral and written communication skills are a high priority for employers as well as the research, analysis and problem solving skills developed in these majors.
What do Juniors need?
This is a good time for students to be involved with internships and other types of experiential learning such as volunteering and study abroad. Career Services can assist students in setting up internships and other experiences. If your student is planning on going to graduate school, they can take practice tests for the various graduate programs through the Dean of Student's Office.
Finally Seniors
Students will be actively organizing their job search and exploring graduate schools. Your student will be exploring options in a more serious manner and may come to you for guidance. Be in tune to how much advice they want from you and back off when you can tell it is rubbing them the wrong way. They need to make their own decisions. Listen to their excitement, fears and dreams. Encourage your student to enroll in CD 401 (Decision Making and Implementation) which is a one-credit, eight-week course about life after Aquinas.  
They will be going to career fairs and graduate school fairs. Don’t go with them. As part of their professional growth, they need to attend these on their own. They will have many opportunities to learn how to interact professionally at these events through Career Services. Support your student through the ups and downs of the job search and graduate school process. They may experience disappointments and they are very busy. They will need your wise perspective from time-to-time. You may want to purchase them a suit for interviews and work. Be certain to check with you own insurance provider to determine when any medical insurance benefits will be discontinues. Some plans end the day of graduation others end with the calendar year or benefit year. If necessary, your Saint would probably qualify for the COBRA plan to extend benefits. Contact your Human Resources or insurance representative for information.
How Parents Can Help Students After Graduation: The Career Search
Your Aquinas student has just graduated.  This is often a time of uncertainty.  Here are some things you can do to help ease your graduate’s transition from the world of school to the career world.

  • Be Positive: Your attitude means a lot. Stay positive and help your graduate realize that the career search is a process. Graduates do not always get a job over night and the process can be overwhelming at times. Staying optimistic about the career search is important!
  • Networking:  Inform your graduate of useful personal contacts that may be beneficial for them. Remind them to keep their social networking websites such as Facebook and Twitter professional. 
  • Résumé/Cover Letter: Review your graduate’s résumé and make sure they are highlighting their strongest points. Review their cover letter and check to see if they are expressing passion for the job.
  • Interviewing: Help your graduate reflect on their strengths and weaknesses. Get them comfortable discussing these things. Practice interviewing with your graduate; make them aware of any distracting behaviors that you notice. Discuss with them what is appropriate to wear to a job interview.
  • Understanding the Job: When your graduate receives a job offer review the job description, salary and benefits with them.  Encourage them not to settle for something they would not be happy with. Also, let them know that in some cases the first job may not be the perfect fit but is often a stepping stone to other career opportunities.
  • Support: Give your graduate the support that they need and want.  Some graduates are more independent than others.  Talk about ways that you can help them.  Encourage but don’t pressure your graduate.   Remind your graduate that Aquinas College Career Services offer career planning and development for current students and recent graduates.

Call Career Services at 616-632-2126 to speak to our professional staff.