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Four Year Plan for Freshmen

Posted on August 1, 2013.

If you are like most parents of first-year college students, you frequently try to start conversations with your student by asking questions like … how do you like your classes? … are you doing well in your classes (are you attending class?) … what do you think you will major in? … what will you do this summer? … have you considered setting-up a few career shadowing experiences to begin to narrow your career focus? … when should you plan to do your first internship? … are you involved in campus activities that will help you be better prepared to pursue your goals? For some students, these conversations are welcomed and a great way to solicit your input. But for others, these conversations cause extreme anxiety and may be laced with tension. Regardless of which describes your student, discussing these things will be smoother if you are armed with our Four Year Action Plan. This Action Plan will help guide your student while enrolled at HPU and if followed, will increase the likelihood that he/she will successfully “launch” after graduation.
Of course, this Action Plan is not a guarantee that your student’s path to the future will be flawless, but it will definitely provide a practical structure. Keep this plan handy so that when you receive a frantic text or phone call from your student, or better yet, when you all have time for a relaxed in-person discussion, you can refer to it. We have included the plan below and you can also direct your student to it on our website: http://www.highpoint.edu/careerinternships/career-timeline/

Four Year Action Plan

Freshman Year

• Schedule an appointment with a career counselor to explore academic majors/minors offered at HPU and related career fields
• Log on to HPU’s PantherLink and set up your profile
• Discuss with your career counselor taking career and/or personality self-assessments (Focus 2, Campbell Interest & Skills Survey, Myers-Briggs) to clarify your areas of interest
• Participate in campus and community activities to enhance your leadership skills and further define your interests
• Focus on academics and building a strong GPA
• Create a resume using our online Resume Guide
• Pay close attention to what you post on social media sites and realize that what you post NOW can cause you problems LATER
• During the summer, look for opportunities to volunteer, job shadow, or intern in addition to working at a typical summer job

Sophomore Year

• Learn about YOU through informational interviewing/job shadowing – contact people you know who work in fields you are considering
• Determine your major with a realistic understanding of how it relates to career opportunities; meet with your career counselor for further clarification if needed
• Join campus clubs/organizations and professional associations that will connect you with students who have similar interests
• Strengthen/update your resume and have it reviewed by your career counselor
• Research possible internship opportunities through the PantherLink network
• Plan early for your summer – seek out an internship, volunteer experience or paid job that will help you continue to explore areas of career interest
• Research and plan ahead for a junior year fall or spring internship

Junior Year

• Establish a LinkedIn profile and start to selectively add connections; clean-up social media sites from your earlier college days if you have not yet done so
• Research internship opportunities and determine if a for-credit internship fits into your course schedule; remember that internships do not necessarily have to be done for academic credit
• Continue to conduct informational interviews
• Update your profile and search for internships using PantherLink
• Meet with your career counselor to update your resume, create an effective cover letter, and practice for interviews
• Attend career fairs and related events to see what organizations are growing and actively recruiting college graduates
• Research graduate and professional schools early if you are considering pursuing an advanced degree after graduation; become familiar with application timelines and admissions tests
• Finalize plans for a summer internship; complete paperwork if doing for credit

Senior Year

• Schedule an appointment early in the year with your career counselor to develop a job-search action plan and timetable
Google yourself to find out what potential employers can see online
• Polish your resume and create targeted cover letters; be aware that you will need to tweak both documents for each opportunity
• Strengthen your presence on LinkedIn!

  • Join the LinkedIn High Point University Alumni group (seniors only)
  • Attend a workshop or make an appointment to learn how to improve your profile
  • Maximize the power of connecting with people who may be helpful as you transition out of college and into the next phase of your journey

• Continue to pursue all possible networking opportunities
• Request a mock interview appointment with your career counselor to practice answering challenging interview questions
• Search for opportunities through PantherLink and other online resources
• Apply to graduate school if that is your path; pay close attention to all deadlines

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