> Your career center now has two staffers dedicated to marketing, making sure students know what’s available to them. Is that unusual? Why don’t students already know? It’s a bit unusual, but it’s essential. Given how much students are doing these days, especially electronically, we’re competing for their attention with lots of other things.
> So who does come in for help? Prospective students and their parents are often very curious about the value of a BU education. They want to have a sense of what it would do for them.
> Kids who haven’t enrolled yet are calling you? Yes, although honestly, it’s more often their parents.
> The ones footing the bill. There are two things driving people’s interest: One is the economy and the other is the cost of higher ed.
> I thought the career center was mostly for juniors and seniors, though. We feel it’s important for students to partner with us very early, even as freshmen, so we can work on their career development and decision-making skills. Most students have no idea what “career development” is when they get here.
> I’m not sure I do, either. What is it? The first step is a self-assessment to discover who they are and what’s important to them. The next step is career exploration, identifying and researching careers of interest. The third step is reality testing – experiential opportunities such as internships, undergraduate research, study abroad. The last step is developing an action plan for the job search, identifying prospective employers, working on resumes and interviewing skills, and teaching them that networking can actually be fun.
> What advice would you give to students worried about the job market? I have a daughter in college and a son who recently graduated. My generation spent a lot of time helping our children to manage their lives. Now we in the career office are saying this is your career, your path. Students need to own this. They need to seize the opportunity and assume responsibility for their career development.