Tips for Supporting Your Student

General Tips

Listen: Choosing a major or career path can be overwhelming and students are anxious to have an opportunity to talk about their thoughts. Parents can do this successfully by keeping an open mind and seeing the situation from the student’s perspective. Although it may be difficult, avoid giving advice unless asked.

Encourage: Talk about the value of the Gateway Program with your student and encourage them to get involved in the first year. Keep up to date on the programs and workshops offered by the Gateway Career Center throughout the year and mention to your student those that you think they might enjoy and benefit from. Let your student know that you see the value in participating in a variety of activities and courses while at Lafayette.

Inform: Talk to your student about your own career development path, even if they are considering a career quite different from your own. Connect your student with people you know who can provide career insight and information on internships and full-time jobs.

Partner: Help your student navigate the career exploration process by taking the journey with them, not trying to lead them. Ask open-ended questions to help your student clarify their ideas and goals. Provide positive feedback when your student discusses career-related activities with you. Above all, let your student know that you trust them to use all the resources available to them to make an informed decision.

Helping your First Year Student

Encourage your student in the following ways:

  • Remind your student to attend a first-year group meeting in the fall to develop an understanding of what the Gateway Program has to offer.
  • Investigate career possibilities by taking career assessments, available through the Gateway Career Center.
  • Remind your student to activate and complete their Handshake profile, as Handshake is where your student can schedule a career counseling appointment, learn and register for events, search for experiential opportunities, and find off-campus and on-campus jobs.
  • Pursue academic strengths and interests.
  • Participate in some of the many campus activities opportunities offered at Lafayette.
  • Remind your student to attend a first-year group meeting in the fall to develop an understanding of what the Gateway Program has to offer.
  • Encourage attendance at Career Center-sponsored workshops, programs, and networking events, while promoting exploration of all career interests and reinforcing that there are many options.
  • Remind your student to meet with a Gateway Counselor in the Career Center for an individual appointment.

Helping your Sophomore

Positively assist your student in researching their career interests by:

  • Suggesting a visit to the Gateway Career Center, our library, as well as utilizing the Career Center website to gather career information.
  • Recommending a conversation with faculty in the fields of interest.
  • Connecting your student with friends, family, and colleagues who can provide them with information on careers of interest.
  • Remind your student to meet with a Gateway Counselor to begin developing a career plan and to make resume updates.
  • Encourage continued attendance at workshops, programs, and networking events, such as Sophomore Surge.
  • Discuss with your student the importance and benefits of completing experiential learning opportunities (externships, Career Tracks, internships, volunteering, research). Advise your student that these experiences will help them learn about potential careers, gain experience, build a network, and become more competitive in the job or graduate school search. Talk about the various opportunities as well as concerns, including costs associated with the internship.
  • Encourage your sophomore student to utilize Career Center resources to begin researching industries or employers that might be of interest and/or graduate programs for continued education.
  • Remind your student to upload an up‐to‐date resume to Handshake, update the career interests section of their profile regularly, and utilize this resource to register for Gateway Career Center programs and search for internships.

Helping your Junior

  • Remind your student to meet with a Gateway counselor and continue attending workshops, programs, and networking events.
  • Recommend to your student that they register for Gateway Link in order to connect and network with Lafayette alumni and students.
  • Encourage your student to strengthen their interviewing skills by meeting with their Gateway counselor, attending workshops and programs on this topic, and utilizing our online interviewing resources.
  • Encourage your student to start narrowing down possible career or graduate program choices, and begin making decisions for the future.
  • If your student has decided to attend graduate school, encourage proactive preparatory techniques like speaking with faculty in their area of interest, meeting with their Gateway Counselor, researching programs, and taking practice entrance exams.
  • Reiterate to your student the importance and value of expanding related experiences. Suggest finding opportunities for growth and experience through experiential learning, volunteer opportunities, and student activities during the academic school year, interim, and summer.

Helping your Senior

  • This is the final year; remind your student to meet with a Gateway Counselor and prepare an updated resume, as well as encourage any final opportunities to network.
  • Have your student continue to practice interviewing skills with the Career Center, you, family, friends, and anyone else who may be beneficial and unbiased.
  • Propose to your graduating student to create a calendar with deadlines of job, graduate school, and/or fellowship applications (and any other important information that may be of assistance in making life easier and less hectic).
  • Tell your student that you are proud of them in whatever they choose to do and continue to help them in reaching their goal, whatever it may be.
  • Remind your student to update their Gateway Counselor regarding post‐graduation plans.