Here are our 10 ideas for you to best support your student:
Talk with your student about the whole Lewis & Clark program.
Ask your student about the skills she or he is gaining inside and outside the classroom. Help explore connections between learning and career goals. Discuss the meaning of a liberal arts education. The more that you and your student discuss the meaning of a college education, the more easily learning will be applied to life. Consider using the Career Development Center’s Road Map to create discussion.
Encourage civic engagement experiences.
Portland is a community full of opportunities to support the arts, tutor young students, participate in elections, provide encouragement to the homeless, research environmental concerns…the list is really quite endless. Remind your student that active citizenship is important too.
Be patient as the decision to major in one academic area comes and goes.
The declaration of major needs to occur during the second semester of the sophomore year. Until that time, encourage your student to explore a wide range of academic majors and to conduct good research with regard to the courses in a particular major—often it is the course descriptions that help clarify one major over another. A major rarely dictates a job; and vice versa, a job rarely requires a specific major.
Help identify professional skills.
College students often do not consider the actual skills that employers want. Students may be thinking in terms of general education requirements, requirements in their major, and possibly a minor, and what they need to do to graduate. They often miss the connections between what they are doing in college and what they will need to do once they graduate—especially regarding those courses outside of their major.
Let us know about internship or job opportunities.
The Career Development Center office manages two databases that connect students with information on internships and entry level employment. Do you have one you believe would suit a Lewis & Clark student? We would love to know!
Prepare to navigate the next transition.
Often the biggest transition in life is the one from college to employment or graduate school. Professional clothing may need to be purchased; a brand new kind of budget outlined; referrals and ideas generated. While your support is important, it is helpful to have realistic conversations with your student about what he or she may expect from you. Often these are difficult conversations; however, once they are started and details of what can and cannot be expected from one another are communicated clearly, your relationship during the transition will be much more solid.
Join the Parent Council.
The Parents Council enhances the Lewis & Clark experience for students and their families by advising and supporting the Office of Alumni & Parent Programs and by connecting parents with other parents, alumni, students, staff, faculty, and administrators. Parents can get involved by becoming an event volunteer: help out at an event in your area, help us find venues, or make calls reminding alumni to come to events; or become an L&C Network Advisor. These parents provide career and graduate school mentoring to current students.
Family Weekend is held in the fall and provides the opportunity to enjoy the campus through faculty presentations. You will have a chance to spend time with college administration and staff, meet other L&C parents, and spend valuable time with your student. Keep an eye on the events calendar for dates.
Remember this is your child’s experience.
You may possess strong values, worldly knowledge, and impressive successes, but your child is a separate human being. As such, he or she must be able to learn how to take responsibility for his or her own decisions—that necessity officially started when first year orientation came to a close.