When should my student begin to utilize Career Services at VCU?
As soon as possible. It is never too early for your student to take advantage of the services offered by Career Services at VCU. Our staff can help students at any point of their professional development and career decision-making process; whether that is picking a major, searching for an internship, developing resumes and cover letters, what to do after graduation or finding a part-time job.
What can my student do with a political science/psychology/public relations etc., major?
A student’s major does not necessarily dictate their career path! The average adult changes their career path 3 times in their lives. What is important to most employers is that applicants have the skills and experience they seek. Because coursework alone typically does not provide adequate career preparation, students should seek a variety of experiences OUTSIDE of the classroom to help them to develop transferable skills and build their network. Career Services is a great resource to your student as they make this decision, and we invite you and your student to browse the VCU Career Services Career Pathways to learn more about major and industry-specific career paths!
How are career advisers and academic advisers different?
At VCU, career advisers and academic advisers have very different responsibilities. Your student’s academic adviser is trained in specifics around changing majors, degree requirements, coursework, and other academic policies. They have the ability to assist your student with registering for classes and are knowledgeable about degree requirements. While career advisers can assist your student in making a decision about what to major in, or what career path to pursue, we are not the experts on degree requirements and other academic policies at VCU. Career advisers and academic advisers at VCU often work in collaboration because academic and career decisions are often very closely intertwined. It is important that your student meets with both their academic adviser and a career adviser.
What if my student doesn’t like the major they’ve chosen?
It is completely normal for a student to change their major! We use a variety of tools to assist your student in the process of finding a major that aligns with their interests and values. We assist students with career planning and decision making. We can help your student choose a major and then will refer them to their academic advisor to assist with course requirements and degree planning.
Can I visit and/or meet with a career counselor to discuss my student’s career options?
The Federal Education Rights Privacy Act does not permit the release of student information without that student's consent, therefore we are unable to discuss your student's career development with you individually. We also believe your student needs to advocate for their own career decisions and take the necessary steps to obtain assistance.
As a parent or guardian, you have a profound influence on your student's career decision-making. There are many ways that you can help your student with the career decision-making process. Start by encouraging your student to make an appointment with us, stop by our office in the University Student Commons between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Monday-Friday for a drop-in appointment, or attend one of our many events and programs.
May I attend a career advising appointment with my student?
It is our hope that students at VCU are empowered to make their own decisions regarding their career and professional development. We are here to help them through a process that is ultimately their own, but it is not our job, nor yours, to do the work for them. We hope that you encourage your student to come to Career Services throughout their time at VCU, and ask your student what they are doing to enhance their experience outside of the classroom.
Where can I find information on career events taking place at VCU?
There are many ways to keep up with Career Services at VCU! Your student has access to a complete list of events and programs through their Handshake account. We encourage you to follow our Facebook page to stay abreast of upcoming programs and events.
Does VCU Career Services help students find internships?
Absolutely! We have a variety of resources to help research internship opportunities both nationally and in the Richmond Metro Region. Your student should access their Handshake account to begin searching for internships. A career adviser can help your student narrow down their search and show them how to make connections to land the best possible experience.
What can my student do to enhance their chances of finding a job?
There are a variety of pathways to success beyond graduation. First, encourage your student to visit us early and often throughout their time at VCU. We can help students decide the best academic program for them so that they are excelling and enjoying their time in the classroom. We can also assist students in exploring the variety of opportunities at VCU and in the Richmond community that will contribute to their development of transferable skills and relevant experience, that will also help them narrow down their interests and capabilities. VCU Career Services can guide your student through the process of the job search, from resume and cover letter writing, to networking, using our extensive knowledge of industries and career resources.
How important is GPA when looking for a job?
An excellent GPA never hurts a student during the job or internship processes. In some competitive fields, there may be GPA requirements to apply for entry-level positions. In other fields, a student's GPA isn't as important as practical experience. It is important for students to consider this as they move through their degree program as to not eliminate any opportunities for themselves in the future. However, GPA isn’t always a factor when applying for positions, and more important are the experiences, transferable skills, and overall professional and positive attitude that a prospective employee brings to the table.
How can transfer students use Career Services?
Career services at VCU is for ANY currently enrolled VCU student and VCU alumni up to one year after graduation. If your student is transferring to VCU, they are encouraged to visit us in the career center with any questions or concerns they might have regarding their career development journey. We want all VCU students to know that it is never too late or too early to visit Career Services and we understand that there is no clear and linear path in their career development. We can help your student articulate their transferable experiences, assist in navigating various experiential opportunities that VCU has to offer, and so much more.