Support Your Student

Photo by Princeton University, Office of Communications

When a student is engaged in the career development process, parent and family support can take many forms. From helping them develop a roster of contacts to being a sounding-board as they learn about themselves, you have an important role in this process. Here is how to help your student write their own career success story as they define and discover their path.

Defining Success

Career success metrics are as varied as those who work to attain them. For some, corporate recognition and a high-powered position are priorities. Others may enter the medical field, or become leaders in nonprofits or global organizations.

Many students, many paths.

A Princeton education prepares students to be leaders across a wide range of fields, as evidenced in the diversity of careers entered by our graduates year after year. As your student is engaging their options, Career Services can provide data and insight to help you help them.

Supporting Their Vision

Your student's academic years are a time when they are directly engaged in the development of their vision for the future. As they consider their options, be patient. As with anything worth achieving in life, great outcomes rely on a brainstorming process, and the path is rarely linear.

  • Encourage brainstorming. Allow your student to present and work through varied career options, even if they are not your first choice.
  • Share helpful resources. Encourage your student to make use of the Career Services resources available to them. The University invests in an amazing array of career planning resources and programs for students in every field.
  • Be open. Your student's career interests may not make immediate sense to you. Find productive ways to offer your perspective. When your student knows you're there for them, they'll turn to you.
  • Ask good questions. Let them work through the answers. Having support powers their ability to find a career that fits.

Foster their independence.

Your student's years at University are a transitional time for all involved. From day one, you have been there — and you still are.

While your student is on campus focused on studies, extracurricular activities and career development, they are attaining skills that will drive lifelong confidence and achievement. Know that you still play a role, and help them when they need it while allowing space for that exploration.

Reinforce career skills.

As your student continues down their path, you can be a model for professional skills that will differentiate them as they enter the job market.

  • Explain etiquette. Millenials often default to digital communication. Emphasize relationship-building and personal connection.
  • Be an educator. If appropriate, introduce your student to contacts who can offer career insight and/or internship opportunities.
  • Emphasize self-direction. Let your student manage interviews, resumes and other career essentials so that they can refine their skills.
  • Encourage engagement. Students actively involved in activities and internships now are better prepared for the workforce.
  • Make yourself available. As your student engages these elements of career development, be there for advice and encouragement.