Conversation Starters

Academics

 Encourage open communication about majors and careers.

  • Do not be judgmental about the student's choices.
  • Be patient and supportive, but raise important questions and issues.
Conversation Starters:

  1. Which college classes have you enjoyed the most? Why?
  2. When do you have to declare a major?
  3. What was the advice of your academic advisor or career counselor?
  4. Which majors are you considering? Why?
  5. Which electives do you think would best complement your major?
  6. Can you be academically successful in the majors you are considering?

Getting Experience

Benefits of Experience (Summer, volunteer, leadership, etc.)
  • Exposure to career interests, industries, and potential employers.
  • Opportunity to use and enhance skills as well as develop new ones.
  • Employers value internship or related experiences.
  • Contacts are made with other professionals.
  • Job search skills are developed by applying for internships.
  • Career options are confirmed, rejected, or expanded. 
 Benefits of Extracurricular Experience
  • Develop skills and self-confidence.
  • Evidence of initiative, perseverance, and resourcefulness.
  • Development of leadership, teamwork, and other skills.
Conversation Starters
  1. What types of internships are available in your areas? 
  2. In what campus organizations are you participating? Are you taking a leadership role? 
  3. Where have students in your major interned?

Thinking About Graduate School

Reasons to Attend Graduate or Professional School
  • Advanced degree may be required.
Reasons Not to Attend Graduate or Professional School
  • Do not know what to do other than school.
  • Pressure from friends, family, etc.
  • Expectation that another degree will make a tough job market better.
Conversation Starters
  1. Why do you want to go to graduate/professional school? 
  2. What kind of qualifications do you need to be competitive? 
  3. What programs do your faculty recommend? How do they rate you as a candidate? 
  4. Have you considered a backup plan to graduate school?  

Taking Time Off After Graduation

Possible Reasons for Taking Time Off
  • Uncertainty about career direction. 
  • Explore career interests (legal, finance, international, etc.).
  • Burnout on academics and desire for a break before graduate/professional studies.
  • A chance to explore personal goals and motivations.
  • Opportunity to travel abroad or pursue other adventures.
Conversation Starters
  1. What are you immediate plans following graduation?
  2. Why are you considering taking time off? Have you checked with your faculty about how this is viewed by graduate/professional schools?
  3. How do you plan to finance this experience? What about health insurance?