Lifelong Career Preparation

This story is featured in the Spring 2019 edition of the HPU Magazine. Discover below how HPU’s Office of Career and Professional Development goes above and beyond in preparing students for their careers. 


HPU’s professional development process is a lasting investment for students.

When Anne Drew Allen was a high school senior from Austin, Texas, she dreamed of attending a college with a big football team.

But her dad heard about High Point University in North Carolina and knew his daughter needed to see it.

“He may have dragged me here, but as soon as I arrived, I realized something,” says Allen, who secured full-time, post-graduate employment nine months before she graduated from HPU this spring.

“I realized I would get so much more from High Point University than from a big school. I realized I would benefit from HPU for the rest of my life.”

That realization came to fruition many times during Allen’s four years on campus, including the day she accepted her full-time job offer shortly after beginning her senior year.

It also happened when she crossed the HPU graduation stage. She and her classmates shared celebratory hugs with friends and professors that were captured in photos across campus. She keeps one on her desk at Dimensional Fund Advisors in Texas.

What’s impossible to show in picture-perfect moments, though, are the many steps Allen and her mentors took to get there — and the perseverance built along the way.

Advisors in the Office of Career and Professional Development know the journey. They walk alongside students through the process — students like Allen, as well as Chris Schorn.

Schorn, from Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, didn’t hesitate to storm the career office before his big phone interview with Tesla for an internship in Fremont, California.

He knew he’d benefit from their guidance like he had many times before.

 

Tesla’s Offer

Schorn is a junior who double majors in computer science and physics. He’s heeded the advice of Doug Hall, his career advisor in the Office of Career and Professional Development.

“We encourage our students to visit our office early and often,” says Hall.

That can be as early as the moment they step foot on campus as a first-year student. When students begin the process early, they experience many milestones of professional development like Schorn — practicing interview skills, improving their resume, creating a cover letter, networking at career events and landing a big internship, to name a few.

The same day advisors helped Schorn perfect his cover letter, he submitted it with his application to Tesla’s internship program. Two months later, he rushed back into the office.

“I have an interview with Tesla,” Schorn said. “Can you help me prepare?”

“Of course,” said Hall.

Inside his office in Cottrell Hall, HPU’s hub of professional development, Hall coached Schorn through challenging interview questions. And during Schorn’s phone interview with Tesla later that day, he realized something.

“I was nervous, but I was prepared,” Schorn says. “I had gone through the steps with the career office. I had talked to my advisor, and we’d completed the mock interview. Everyone around me was rallying me to help me get the next interview.”

A few days later, Schorn received an offer from Tesla’s digital products team.

He spent the summer after his sophomore year in California learning how to thrive in a fast-paced environment and live independently across the country. Some days he worked with developers writing code.

Other days, he helped service agents design an internal communication platform.

“Tesla was one of the best learning experiences I’ve ever had,” says Schorn. “The experience helped me learn how to work on different projects with different departments, and it helped me envision the career I want in the future.”

She returned to HPU with a job offer in her pocket. She graduated with the confidence to launch her career. And today, she’s completing three rotations within the company to find her best fit.

“HPU instilled in me so much more than I ever expected,” says Allen. “It starts in the classroom and spreads into how to handle yourself in meetings, how to have dinner during your job interview, how to send professional emails and how to carry yourself in a way that shows who you are. It is all-encompassing.”

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