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Families: Frequently Asked Questions

It is never too early or too late to start using the Center for Career Development & Academic Exploration. We offer programs and resources that benefit first-year students through alumni. Encourage your student to visit or call our office to determine what services could help her best.

Nationally, statistics show that most students will change their majors at least one time during their college careers and only 30% of students who enter with a career goal in mind will eventually work in that field. Every year, several hundred students enter UT as “university exploratory” or “exploratory” within particular colleges. Many other students will change their major at some point. The Center for Career Development & Academic Exploration encourages these students to explore major and career options based on their interests, skills, personality, and values.

Because 40 to 45 hours of an undergraduate degree consist of general education credits, there are ways for students to design their course schedules so that they don’t “fall behind”. Exploratory students should work closely with academic and career exploration coaches and academic advisors at Arts and Sciences Advising Services to make wise choices about course selection.

There are many resources available at the Center for Career Development & Academic Exploration to assist students with their major and career goals including individual appointments, a career exploration class, and assessments. Encourage your student to visit the center and to get started.

One of the most popular resources on the Center for Career Development & Academic Exploration’s website is What Can I Do With This Major? It is a great way to connect majors to common career areas that people enter with each degree. It also includes typical employers who hire graduates with those majors, strategies designed to maximize career opportunities, and a list of web links to continue career exploration. Additionally, it is important to help your student understand that many times, skills and experiences gained outside the classroom direct an individual’s career path. One major can lead to numerous careers and most careers can be entered with a variety of majors. Academic and career exploration coaches are available to discuss majors and career goals with students during individual appointments.

Our most commonly utilized assessment is the Strong Interest Inventory (SII). The SII is often a good starting point for students who are looking for career direction, whether it is choosing a major or defining a career path. The inventory matches individuals’ interests with the interests of professionals in various occupations who are satisfied with their work. After taking the SII on the Internet, students are required to meet with a career counselor to review their College Profile results and learn more about careers and majors of interest. The Center for Career Development & Academic Exploration also offers a self-directed system, PathwayU, that helps students research personality, interests, values, and occupational fit. All assessments are free for current UT students. Visit Career Counseling and Assessments for more information. While assessments are a great starting point for career exploration, students will rarely find “the answer” to their career search in one appointment. Self-assessment, research, and exposure to career fields are all important in the career development process.

Understanding supply and demand is an important part of career exploration. However, we caution students from making decisions based solely on market demands. Markets can fluctuate by the time a student graduates, and supply and demand may differ by region. We encourage students to consider a variety of factors including interests, skills, and values, when making career decisions. Resources for exploring supply and demand, along with salary statistics, include:

We help students find part-time jobs both on and off campus. Students can search for positions on Handshake and resources located in the Center for Career Development & Academic Exploration, Student Union Level 2. If students need individual assistance, they can meet with Joann Jeter, assistant director for part-time student employment. Students will find a variety of employers represented including retail, restaurant, childcare, offices, and temporary or seasonal positions. Some of the larger on-campus employers include: Dining Services, Office of Information Technology, TRECS, and the Library. If your student has been granted Federal Work-Study as part of his financial aid package, the Office of Financial Aid can assist in securing a position.

The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) has defined these eight competencies as a necessary for Career Readiness. These competencies can be gained through various experiences inside and outside the classroom. Visit our Are you Career Ready? page to learn more.

Making an appointment and visiting our office will give your student opportunities to search the Handshake system for internship postings, apply online, and participate in on-campus recruiting. They can also meet with their career coach for assistance preparing for and searching for internships. Additionally, we host several campus-wide career fairs where students can interact with employers who may have opportunities.

With careful planning, internships do not have to delay graduation. Many are completed during the summer or part-time throughout the school year. Some internships may be offered full-time during the semester.

Students should plan on starting their job searches two semesters prior to graduation. Most jobs are found through networking, so it is important to start early. Some employers come on campus in the fall semester to hire May graduates. The Center for Career Development & Academic Exploration provides a wide range of services to help with the job search process, including individual appointments with career coaches, resume critiques, workshops & classesinterview practice, job fairs, and an extensive website. Students should also upload their resumes and search for positions on Handshake, our online job database and the key to on-campus recruiting. Graduating students should attend relevant job fairs throughout the school year.

Many students don’t realize that the Center for Career Development & Academic Exploration can assist with the graduate school admission process. Each October we host Graduate School Prep Month with a variety of activities. Year-round, students can meet with their career coach to discuss the details of graduate school admissions, to have their personal statement critiqued, or to conduct a practice interview. We offer helpful graduate school resources on the website and in the Career Exploration Center.