The Ram Connection is a newsletter developed by the CSU Parent and Family Board and meant to be a resource for all CSU parents and family members. The CSU Parent and Family Board is comprised of CSU parents and family members, from around the U.S., who work closely with the University to enhance efforts to support CSU Parents and Family members while they have students at CSU. With the Ram Connection, you are receiving a resource developed by CSU parents/family members for CSU parents/family members.
Is your student preparing for “Life after CSU”?
College life is great as students strive to achieve good grades while participating in campus activities, social gatherings, potentially working, attending athletic events and much more. But do you think that they are considering “Life after CSU”? Have you encouraged your student(s) to prepare for making that transition from academic life to a professional career? Are they preparing to turn in that backpack for a briefcase, tool kit, or medical bag? Are they aware of the tools available to them at CSU and the experiences they can encounter to support the transition to the next phase of their life? Right now, chances are, your students are focused on college, but you should encourage them to develop a career plan now. As a key person in their life, you can have a huge impact in encouraging and challenging them to be intentional in preparing for life after CSU, while they are still a student at CSU.
Examples of Students Who are Transitioning to “Life After CSU!”
This CSU student is a senior majoring in Business Finance and continues to maintain a solid GPA while participating in athletics, campus leadership activities and manages a part-time job to pay some expenses. He also had a summer job after freshmen year working on numerous projects at the Lory Student Center. After his sophomore year, he leveraged some personal connections to secure an internship at a financial institution in Los Angeles. He was asked to return the following summer and continued to receive training in financial modeling, data analytics and supported presentations to the executive leadership team. This experience confirmed that he wanted to pursue a career in business finance.
The Accidental to Intentional Volunteer…
This CSU student is a junior who initially majored in Animal Sciences. She participates in club sports and other campus activities while achieving a high GPA. After her freshmen year, she volunteered at a Dog & Cat hospital assisting staff, caring for animals and performing other operational responsibilities. During her sophomore year, she changed her major to Biology, deciding to pursue a career in health care. That summer, she had the opportunity to travel to New York for two weeks, stay with a family member who was a resident and did volunteer work at a local hospital. She received great visibility into a hospital environment and some valuable experience. After returning home, she volunteered at a Physical Therapy Center supporting staff in the patient rehabilitation process.
Students who achieve a greater than 3.0 GPA, have completed an internship, work on campus or use Career Services report higher levels of career outcomes. Creating differentiation captures the attention of potential employers. There is tremendous competition given the many qualified candidates who are entering the workforce today. How students differentiate themselves from others, while in college, will be a critical success factor in securing that first job, once they shift to life after college. Not only did the CSU students described above create differentiation through their experiences outside the classroom, but also, their work experiences provided them invaluable insight into the career path of their choice.
It is not easy maintaining a high GPA which requires hard work and long study hours with personal dedication and commitment. Students may think, “How would I have time to work part-time, find an internship or make time for a volunteer activity?” Summer breaks and winter breaks may provide additional opportunities for the time needed but students must plan well in advance of their breaks, to connect with potential internships, volunteer opportunities, and/or employers. Additionally, they should consider the following tools and services provided at CSU.
Are you aware of the tools available to CSU students? Resources/Services for Undergraduate Students & Recent Alumni
The CSU Career Center can help a student from that first big decision of choosing their major and finding student employment, building experience with leadership and internships, to negotiating their first big job offer. Think of Career Center staff as your student’s coaches, cheering them on and offering them support, tools, and guidance to help them tweak their approach for the win. There are lots of ways to engage with the Career Center. Encourage your student to pick the options that feel right to them to get started:
Tips for Students:
- Drop in to the Career Center for a quick career coaching session to get started.
- Get help finding a part-time jobwhile a student.
- Attend Industry Tours, Connect Events, and Career Fairs to meet cool alumni and employers.
- Utilize our online job and internship board, Handshake.
- Attend curated Career Resourcesspecialized for your student’s needs.
- I have no idea what I want to do with my life. What can I do to figure it out?
- I love my major, but what job can I get with it?
- How do I find an internship in my field of interest?
- I’ve never written a resume before. Where do I even begin?
- My resume is awesome, but can you double check it?
- I have an interview next week for a job I really want. Can you help me get ready?
- I have a job offer, but I’m not sure if I should take it. Can you help me decide?
Making Connections by leveraging your CSU network of family & friends.
While networking has always been important, identifying employment opportunities has changed significantly over the years. Applying for jobs online, working with recruiters and job fairs are only a few of the many tools available for job seekers. Networking has never been more important in finding a position upon graduation. Talking to your student about interacting and developing relationships with others, as it relates to their future professional career, is important. CSU has resources to connect your student with professionals in the work world, whether they be former students who attended CSU or others looking to give advice and mentor or even hire a Ram!
Students may ask – “I just graduated from college, have limited experience and no connections so how do I network?” There is a very powerful network that exists today which is not fully developed or utilized. CSU Family & Friends Network consists of alumni, parents, relatives, friends and their business colleagues who may have connections to career opportunities. The connection to this network is “CSU”! The recently formed CSU Parent and Family Board has taken on the challenge of seeing how we can potentially expand the CSU Family & Friends Network to assist students in finding that first job after graduation or even land an internship during school. Parents and friends know that CSU produces highly qualified candidates with a world class education from an outstanding university. So why wouldn’t they want to hire a CSU graduate or refer them to a business associate? We strive to further establish the connections that can help. Ask someone in your personal network if they would hire a CSU graduate? If the answer is yes, let’s get them connected and leverage their network! If you are interested in helping the CSU Parent and Family board expand the network of support for CSU students, send an email to VPSA CSU PFBd@mail.colostate.edu and title it, “Expanding the CSU Family & Friends Network.” One of the CSU Parent and Family Board members will get back to you promptly.
First year or second year students may be thinking it is a long way off to graduation so why should I be preparing for “Life after CSU”? Students in their last two years of school may be thinking that it’s too late. It is not too early or too late, but students need to start now! Encourage them to visit the CSU Career Center and discover the tools available to them. They include resume writing, interview techniques, Handshake, building a LinkedIn profile, internships, and volunteer opportunities. The earlier they start to create differentiation will increase their ability to identify the career opportunity that they have been working so hard to achieve. Start to make connections and encourage your students(s) to learn more about the “CSU Family & Friends Network.”
Look for the next Ram Connection newsletter in the spring semester where we will ask if you developed a differentiation plan with your student and provide additional information about the CSU Family & Friends Network.