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Five Ways Students Can Boost Their Academic and Career Planning

November 20, 2019

With the holidays approaching, we know there will be lots of conversation with your student about college—how are classes going, what are they enjoying, how are they involved on campus, and what are their plans for after college.

As families, you are the biggest influencer in helping your student find success. We recommend steering the meal time conversation away from questions like, “Do you have a job lined up?” or “Where are you going to grad school?” and instead, ask things like, “What have you enjoyed most in your classes this semester?” or “I’d like to hear about something new you’ve learned this year.” This helps your student reflect on how Fisher is building their intellect and their ways of seeing the world.

In addition, here are some “nudges” you might suggest to help your student stay on track, whether a first-year student or a senior on the brink of graduation.

  1. The most obvious way: Use the Center for Career and Academic Planning (CCAP). This office exists to help students find answers for how to plan their academic path to best prepare for career goals, and to identify career possibilities that derive from the skills and knowledge gained in coursework. CCAP assists with everything from course selection to change of major to internships to interviewing practice and graduate school applications.
  2. All students should get familiar with the career tools that they have access to, including Handshake, LinkedIn, and CareerShift. The sooner students start building their professional brand, the sooner employers identify them as potential interns and employees. Through class projects, volunteering, campus activities, and even part-time jobs, students have a lot to offer and they should showcase their talents.
  3. For first-years and sophomores, use the Academic Pathways to help with long-range planning. St. John Fisher College has developed a “map” for every major, so students can anticipate when they will take required courses, when they will have room for electives, and ways they might be able to double major, or pick up a minor.
  4. Locate and use campus resources like the Writing Center and tutoring services. If a student anticipates a struggle in a particular course (because they have looked at the Academic Pathway), connecting to resources and support is the first step to success. FisherLink is the easiest point of entry to find and get assistance.
  5. Build their network. From faculty to campus job supervisors to coaches and alumni, learning how to network is essential to success whether academically or professionally. Go to office hours, volunteer in the community, work a part-time job, or obtain an internship: they all add up to great networking!

For more academic planning and career exploration resources, visit CCAP on the web at