Support Your Student

Career Development empowers students to set and achieve their post-graduate goals. We realize the impact that parents have on the lives of their children, particularly with regard to initiative in planning for a career, and we aim to partner with you in support of your student's future.

Students who do not feel ready to address career/life planning decisions probably will not initiate contact with us and may lack the motivation to work on planning. With that in mind, here are a few tips that you as a parent can use to help get your son/daughter ready to move through the career development process:

  • Start early. Familiarize yourself with the services we offer and encourage your son/daughter to begin working with us during his/her first year at Davidson.
  • Emphasize internships. Internships provide excellent opportunities for students to test out career interests, gain valuable experience, and connect with employers who may later hire them upon graduation.
  • Listen. Encourage yourson/daughter to talk about his/her ideas and listen with empathy and without judgment. Have an open mind to careers and majors that may not be in keeping with your original expectations. Try to see the situation from your son's/daughter's perspective.
  • Initiate conversation. Talk to your son/daughter about career plans, life goals, interests, and abilities. Be patient and encouraging, as this can facilitate his/her desire to explore these issues earlier on instead of waiting until the last minute. Ask open-ended questions, and help your son/daughter clarify ideas, priorities, and concerns.
  • Be supportive. Support your son/daughter as he/she explores different activities and interests. Give feedback on what you see as his/her strengths and abilities to help him/her develop a solid sense of self. Encourage him/her to remain true to his/her values, interests, and talents.
  • Let your student decide. While your supportive input is valuable, remember that the decision must ultimately be your son's/daughter's. Gradually reduce your role in his/her decision-making as he/she begins to develop a sense of independence.
  • Know the process. The more you know about the steps that facilitate good life planning, the better you will be able to assess just where your son/daughter is in the process. Suggest steps that move him/her along gently, and begin where they are.
  • Expose your student to different jobs. Students make better career decisions when they learn about a wide range of occupations and get past the stereotypes about different careers. Take your son/daughter to your workplace, talk about the nature of your job and your friends' jobs, and have your son/daughter "shadow" someone on the job.
  • Help network. Help your son/daughter develop contacts for information, advice, and assistance in career planning and job search. Refer him/her to colleagues, friends, neighbors, parishioners, family members, and community members with related experience. If your son/daughter is reluctant to approach people to ask for this kind of information, encourage him/her.