What Parents Often Ask

How do you work with students?
We provide a full range of programs and services, from self-assessment and advising to mock interviews. We'll meet with students or groups of students anywhere, including in their residence halls, and Greek or Minerva houses, at times that are convenient for them. We seek and cultivate relationships with employers and alumni to identify internships, full-time jobs and "gap year" opportunities. We also work closely with professors, coaches, staff and parents to help students achieve their potential in and out of the classroom. And we put a premium on connecting students with Union alumni, who provide a wealth of valuable information about their life paths, careers, recruiting and networks.

What do employers want?
Employers in all fields are remarkably consistent in what they look for in their college hires. They want smart students who communicate effectively, work well with others and are genuinely interested in the opportunity before them, be it a job, internship or research position. This is critical, especially when you consider that the top 10 in-demand jobs in this country today didn't exist in 2004. As former U.S. Secretary of Education Richard Riley notes, "Colleges are preparing students for jobs that don't yet exist, using technology that hasn't been invented, in order to solve problems we don' even know are problems yet." Riley asserts—and we believe —that we must teach students to solve problems. This includes critical thinking, analytical and communications skills, which are developed in all majors at Union College.

What advice can you give about choosing a major?
Students learn problem-solving skills— precisely what employers want—in all majors. Our interdisciplinary curriculum encourages students to explore, question,take risks and draw connections between seemingly unrelated ideas. We can't emphasize enough that just as in choosing a profession, students do best when they select a major that genuinely interests them. What' more, employers will teach promising employees to do their jobs, regardless of their major. We invite students to use our alumni database, which contains thousands of Union graduates from all majors who work in the arts, business, education, engineering, finance, law, media, medicine and non-profits. Students will see for themselves that they can do anything with just about any major.

How important are internships?
They're very important. Internships offer students a realistic look at careers they're considering and a chance to learn early on if a particular field is a good match for their skills and interests. Employers prefer to hire students who have relevant work or internship experience, and most will hire from their intern program. So encourage your son or daughter to seek meaningful internships, either during school breaks, the summer, or through classes or Union study abroad programs.

Where can a Union degree take my student?
In a word, anywhere! Our track record of educating great leaders goes back more than two centuries. In the last 40 years alone, Union has produced a National Book Award winner, an Olympic gold medalist, Academy and Emmy Award winners, a governor, and the heads of Warner Brothers Studios, Texas Instruments and Goldman-Sachs, to name just a few alumni. Each year, our seniors are accepted by the country’s top graduate programs in law, business, medicine and the arts, while others go on to interesting jobs and prestigious research fellowships.

When should my student visit the Becker Career Center?
The earlier, the better. We recommend that students visit with us during their first year on campus and regularly throughout their time at Union. We work with students at each stage of the career planning process.

How can I help my student be successful in the career search?
Challenge your student to try new activities, accrue new experiences and become independent decision-makers. Encourage your student to meet with our career advisors, and to make it a habit to check in about workshops, jobs, internships, career fairs, speakers, networking programs and more. Stay open to your student's ideas and perspectives, which will continue to evolve and change. Ours is a close-knit community, so if you're in a position to assist other Union students with advice, jobs or internships in your own field, please let us know.