Striving for Success Beyond the 1st Year
Sophomore year is a time when many students lose momentum and feel anxious or confused. The freshman frolic has given way to new challenges as students declare majors, take their first upper-division classes, decide whether to study abroad, feel pressure to plan for internships and careers, and figure out who they are and where they are going. If your student is feeling this way too, please understand that their feelings are normal and that other students are feeling the same way as they are.
Now is a good time to remind your student why they wanted to come to college, what they want to become, and what they have already accomplished in just one year of college!
Consider Study Abroad
Studying abroad will help your student develop skills and will give your student experiences a classroom setting can never provide. Less than 10 percent of American college students choose to study abroad, which means that a study abroad experience will set your student apart from other applicants during your post-graduation job search. The CSULB Center for International Education has more information.
The third year of college is an excellent time for students to clarify their goals for life after college, research graduate school options, polish their résumés, get an internship, and talk to people who are working in jobs they wish to pursue.
An internship can provide your student with the opportunity to explore their interests through hands-on experience in an occupation they may want to pursue. Internships are available in a broad range of industries, can be paid or unpaid, and could earn your student units toward graduation. The CSULB Career Development Center has more information about internships.
Informational interviews are a great way for your student to gain first-hand knowledge of job responsibilities and day-to-day duties from a person in the field of their choice. This can give your student insight into whether a particular job is a good fit for them. It can also enable them to learn how to focus their job search, market their skills more effectively to employers, and build their confidence in approaching others. Even if your student does not know the person they interview, remember that people love to talk about themselves and what they do! Some questions to ask are:
- Describe a typical day at work.
- How many hours do you usually work in a week?
- What do you see as the potential for growth in this field?
A common stressor for many college students is preparing for life after college. Students may feel excited about graduating, as well as uncertain about, unready for, or even frustrated with the prospect of their future. If your student is feeling this way too, please understand that their feelings are normal.
One great resource for students who are nearing graduation is the Career Development Center. Job postings, mock interviews and assistance with crafting a strong résumé are just some of the services available. The Career Development Center also hosts job fairs each semester, which allows students to meet recruiters from local and national employers.