Academic Advising and Career Counseling

Students often regard the educational planning process and the search for majors in terms directly related to specific jobs/careers, and they presume that conversations with academic advisers will naturally combine the undergraduate educational experience with career preparation. Is this expectation appropriate? Should academic advising and career counseling on college campuses work hand-in-hand? Should these two areas of expertise be more centralized or even operate within the same unit to provide one-stop guidance to students, or are they distinctly different in their missions and better suited to function separately?

What is your opinion?

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    Megan Laffey

    Yes, I believe this expectation is appropriate. Students come to college so that they can eventually find a job (hopefully in a field they enjoy). I believe that the educational planning process and career services should go hand in hand with each other. I think that helping students pick out classes that correlate to what they eventually want to pursue as a job is important for preparation and will give them experience. Students do not come into college knowing right off the bat which classes will benefit them the best, and it is the advisers job to help the student in any way academically. The two areas should definitely operate within the same unit to provide one-stop guidance to students. I feel personally if that was an option here at UMass it would be a huge help to students, including myself.

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    Tyler Cotta

    The educational process should be directly linked with career services because the entire purpose of going for an education is to find a career where the student will be happy. Students need to know where their major will take them. Deciding on a major is hard enough. Students are deciding what they want to do with their lives. Helping a student understand what their major can lead to is extremely important in deciding a major. When a student has a career in mind it is important that the university help them get to where they want to be. Though their plans may change a student should know that a major can lead to several careers. Even when picking classes a student is picking based on interests. These interests can go toward developing a career and an advisor should be able to acknowledge the students goals and help them work towards it. By combing career services and academic advising students can learn where they want to go. I think the most important thing a student can ask is what careers their major can lead them. I think a lot of advisors sidestep the question by generalizing the answer. The best thing for the student is to have the advisor sit with them and talk it out. Based on the career options a student can pick classes and language studies that best suit them for the real world.

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    Fabia Josselin

    Academic advisers and career counseling should work together to an extent. There should be some career counseling incorporated in academic advising. However, career counseling should still remain a separate entity. Every major is different and requires different needs. Fields such as Engineering, Nursing, or Accounting are very specific. Students who declare majors such as these have a good idea of what they want to do after school. So counseling for them may be more hands on. A nursing student definitely wants to work in a medical facility. Now students with majors that are much broader such as Communication or Sociology have other needs. There a multiple sectors for career opportunities in these academic areas. Advisers can help these students weed through the focus areas that interest or don’t interest them. Academic advisers should help steer the ship per say in order to help students find what interests them. Career counselors are the ones that help students get the job. They help with resume building, cover letters, interviewing skills, etc. These are the people that teach you how to operate in the professional world. Yes, they help navigate your interests too, but it’s from a different scope.

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    Kalista Creighton Ahouse

    I think part of the conflict within students when looking at their academics in comparison to potential careers is that they have been encouraged by their environment to pick a career before exploring the many areas of study that a university has to offer. In some cases, it makes a lot of sense to have a concrete idea of a potential job before entering a bachelors program, especially if that job is something that requires a pre-med or pre-law degree. If the student is not totally dedicated to this job path, however, the situation they are being put in is awkward, because they still feel as though they have to know what kind of job they are shooting for, and must therefore study that field while attending university. I think, while job opportunities and graduate opportunities can be directly influenced by undergraduate decisions, it is still important for students to explore their options and be given the space and understanding that what they are working on at this very moment may not be what they do for the rest of their life. Advisors should be prepared to have conversations with students about their career plans, but should also have resources and outlets for students to experiment with their interests and examine what they are passionate about. I think that students should be afforded both counseling on their future plans, as well as the freedom to experience their interests at the college level, and it may be helpful for these two things to be associated, as that is the way they are often presented in the public sphere.

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    JOY ukpong

    I kind find tis topic very interesting for community college counselors as academic advising is the vital point that opens the door for students to understand their path way to college. I wonder without advising door knob would be broken along the way to succeed. therefore integration of those services act s a key point of intervention for student success

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    Dana Ulwick

    I strongly agree that academic advising and career counseling should work together directly. Since students are going to college to start a career they should know how to get there through academics. Most of the time that career path changes through out the time that students spend in their undergraduate years. Students should be able to make appointments with career services through the advising office and be required to do so after an advising appointment to make sure you are doing what you need to in order to succeed in the future. In my experience as a peer adviser most students do not know how career services can help and how early they should start doing internships. If these two services coincided students would all know what they are supposed to do. At UMass Amherst where I go to school you can earn academic credits through internships which is just one way that makes these two services directly connected. There is an adviser from career services who spends some of her time working in the Social and Behavioral Sciences advising office. She works directly with career services and specializes in helping students from the SBS college. This is extremely helpful because UMass Amherst is such a big school it can be easy to get lost in the crowd, and this makes it easy to know which classes will help get internships and which internships will get the job you would like in the future. Academic Advising and career services are connected in so many ways that it only makes sense to have them work together directly. Since college is about getting the career students want the two services want to do all they can to help students achieve those goals and them working together will only make that process easier.

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    Amy Carmack

    Academic advising and career counseling should absolutely work hand-in-hand. As an academic advisor for a general studies major, I often worked with students on how to translate the skills and classes for the major into tangible products for the workplace. The question I most often received was “What kind of jobs can I get with this major?” The lack of knowledge on campus about the major prompted me to pair with career services to host a series of workshops about making that translation. More important, if students start using career counseling/services early in their collegiate career, they are more likely to feel comfortable using the services when looking for an internship and job prior to graduation. It is never too early for students to start pairing their academic pursuits with their career pursuits.

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    Donnamarie Nakos

    Advising should be a collaborative effort and can include both academic and career counseling. A student may identify his lifelong job goal, and academic advising should help him or her reach it with the proper education through the program of study or academic program. An academic advisor/counselor has to be oriented to more than just giving academic advice and look at the whole of the student.

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    Shannon Telenko

    I think it depends on the student population and the individual student. It might be more appropriate to combine the two if working with adult learners, who may be coming to school specifically for a career change (but this does not apply to all adult learners, some of whom may just want to learn for the sake of learning). More traditional aged students may want to use their college experience as a time to explore and perhaps a career is something s/he will figure out later. However, I think it’s always a good idea to have some kind of a resource that helps students to see what types of careers or career paths students in a specific major might lean toward. Or to refer a student to career services when appropriate.

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    Kelly MacCleary

    I believe it is instrumental that advising and career services work very closely together. When a student is mentored through their program to make the best choices they will be better prepared for success when they graduate. Over the last year our department has hired a separate internship coordinator and also a career services person to assist our students through their program. This has proved to be very beneficial to not only our students, but various organizations within the community that are working with our students.


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