While navigating the COVID-19 pandemic, HPU’s 97% rating remains 11 points above the national average.
HIGH POINT, N.C., Feb. 25, 2021 – High Point University remained committed to and focused on student success when the COVID-19 global pandemic began impacting the region in spring 2020. Data collected by HPU, in accordance with the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) standards, shows 97% of the Class of 2020 launched their careers or continued their education within six months of graduation, 11 points above the national average.
Intensely focused on life skills, HPU graduates enter the workforce with the characteristics employers want. Top companies, such as Google, recognize that life skills are the most valuable traits of their workforce (Google’s Top Characteristics of Success – 2013). HPU also conducted a national survey of 500 executives at companies with 5,000 employees or more, and their responses also underscore the importance of life skills.
“The opportunities that I was given at HPU helped me when looking for jobs and internships,” says Class of 2020 graduate Kesley Quinn, who now works as a market data analyst at Bloomberg. “From working on the Woz Project [with Apple Co-Founder Steve Wozniak, HPU’s Innovator in Residence], and participating in two different research projects, to getting involved in campus ministry, I have been shaped so much since my freshman year. I gained real-world skills like project management, communication, how to truly be there for other people, how to work in a team, confidence, sharing what I believe and so much more. I worked with the Office of Career and Professional Development to get an internship at Thomas Built Buses the summer after my junior year. This was a part of the Life Skills and Executive Leadership Development Program and truly skyrocketed my experience in the professional world. Following my internship, I went to their office to learn how to organize my job search, what to include in my final resume for certain companies and to get tips on the types of different interviews I would experience.”
To best meet each student’s needs during the pandemic, HPU is giving students new choices with how the university serves them. Students can continue to receive traditional in-person career services, adapted to follow the necessary health and safety protocols. Due to the pandemic, students can also receive career services virtually. Through HPU’s offerings, both in-person and virtual, students explore their career paths, choose the right major for them, develop resumes, participate in mock job interviews and receive active help applying for internships, jobs and graduate and professional schools. Other successful programs include workshops on topics ranging from teamwork and professionalism to deepening one’s work ethic and engaging in effective salary negotiations.
Student success is also fostered by HPU’s holistic learning environment, which includes the President’s Seminar on Life Skills for all freshmen; 1924 Prime, the university’s fine dining restaurant and learning lab; Project Discovery, which helps students search for the right major; access to innovators, such as Apple Co-Founder Steve Wozniak, HPU’s Innovator in Residence; and Student Success Coaches. For more information regarding HPU’s approach to life skills, visit this website.
“HPU’s Office of Career and Professional Development has long offered an ecosystem of support to help our students attain their personal and professional goals,” says Dr. Stephanie Crofton, vice president of experiential learning and career development. “Our approach emphasizes personalized, face-to-face, in-person interaction with faculty and staff mentors. We are particularly grateful to our many partners in the business sector for continuing to offer internships during the pandemic, both in-person and virtual, so that students could continue to develop professionally through their interactions with new workplace mentors.”
How HPU Prepares Graduates:
— The Career and Internship Expo –In fall 2020, 26 employers spent a minimum of two hours to be available to all students virtually to talk about their company and share information on why internship and job seekers are attracted to their company. Students learned what these top companies are looking for and received advice on how students can position themselves to be strong candidates. The event is a great opportunity for students of all majors and years to network and explore future internship opportunities.
— Niche career fairs. In collaboration with numerous academic schools and departments, HPU’s Career and Professional Development team hosts career fairs that target specific majors. This provides students a more personal opportunity to interface with employers specific to their area of study.
— Employers regularly visit the HPU Career Bar. Recruiters from major companies schedule time to be present at the Career Bar inside Cottrell Hall, where they offer drop-in hours and previously scheduled appointments with students. The Career Bar is another example of how employers are attracted to HPU to recruit students directly from campus.
— The Office of Career and Professional Development assists students in landing impressive internships and full-time jobs with companies, including, Amazon, Facebook, Google, PwC, General Electric, the NBA, Ralph Lauren, Kate Spade, ADP, Ashley Furniture, Walt Disney World, Madison Square Garden, MLB, Pottery Barn, Gartner, Lenovo, SAS and many other prestigious organizations.
— The Life Skills and Executive Leadership Development Program is a distinctive way for students to experience a 360-degree view of a company, from entry-level positions to executive leadership roles. Candidates selected receive a top-to-bottom look at how a business operates. Coca-Cola Consolidated, Thomas Built Buses and Caffey Distributing are participating partners who guarantee these professional development experiences for HPU students ever year.
— HPU engages parents, alumni and friends of the university through the Career Connectors program. Participants are invited to identify an existing internship at their place of employment, create a new internship or establish an endowed fund to assist students with the cost of living expenses associated with pursuing internships.
— Externship opportunities. Students completed an externship with the Dallas Mavericks by shadowing Cynt Marshall, team CEO and HPU’s Sports Executive in Residence. As part of the externship in fall 2019, students gained hands-on experience and learned what it takes to prepare the Mavericks for their home season opener against the Washington Wizards at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas.
—Peer Career Advisors help students with resume reviews, LinkedIn profiles and tips for finding internships during office drop-in hours. More than 375 students were assisted by Peer Career Advisors in the 2019-2020 academic year.
— Career Advisors don’t wait for students to come to them, they go to the students. Members of the Office of Career and Professional Development delivered more than 95 events including presentations and workshops reaching more than 2,500 students in a variety of classes and clubs/organizations across campus during the 2019-2020 academic year.
Tips from HPU’s Career Team
— Dr. Bill Gentry, assistant vice president of HPU’s Office of Career and Professional Development, is a leadership expert who specializes in inspiring and preparing the leaders of tomorrow. He is the author of dozens of articles on first-time managers and new leaders, and the bestselling book, “Be the Boss Everyone Wants to Work For: A Guide for New Leaders.” He prepares HPU students to be leaders in their future industries and communities by encouraging them to think less about “me” and more about “we” through one-on-one coaching sessions and a variety of talks, presentations and workshops.
— Embrace the journey. HPU students are encouraged to focus on their life skills development in a variety of ways. During their four years on campus, they hold multiple internships and part-time jobs. They volunteer, study abroad and serve in leadership roles.
— Prove your worth. HPU students are advised to engage “early and often” in career-related experiences outside of the classroom, with a focus on internships and other experiential-learning opportunities.
— Differentiate yourself. Students must know how to articulate their unique skills and experiences in an authentic manner on paper, online and especially in person.
— Get active on LinkedIn. Students are reporting success finding full-time positions through LinkedIn’s job board feature. When offered, the “quick apply” option allows students to submit a LinkedIn profile in place of the traditional resume and cover letter, making complete and compelling LinkedIn profiles essential.
— Research your audience. HPU students research employers thoroughly before and during the interview process. With all of the online access to news, employers expect job candidates to be current on their organizations – what they do, who their competitors are, plans for growth, etc. Read recent blog posts and news releases, even on the day of the interview.
— Questions matter. Asking questions is an often overlooked element of a successful interview. Be prepared with thoughtful, relevant questions to ask during the interview.
— Never stop networking. It’s always in the best interest of students to keep conversations going with industry professionals. Informational interviewing is a great way to stay abreast of industry trends as well as create meaningful connections for future opportunities.
— Video interviews are becoming more popular with employers because they save both time and money during initial screening of candidates. These are one-way interviews where applicants record their responses to prompts and are screened based on their digital first impression. Preparation and practice are essential to success.
— Tap into employer referral programs. Many companies offer financial incentives to their employees for successful referrals, so connecting with successful alumni is an effective strategy.