A Guide for Parents

CareerLAB provides students with the full range of services they need to search for internships and employment, to connect with employers, and to develop the skills needed in today's job market. 

Our services include advising sessions by appointment and drop-in; access to thousands of job and internship opportunities; résumé and cover letter preparation; preparing for interviews; alumni career panels and interviews; career fairs and on-campus recruiting; and specialized advising for health and law careers (offered jointly with the Office of the Dean of the College).

Below is a quick guide to a few ways you can help your students as they navigate the career development process.

First Year

Student Profile:

  • Adjusting to college life.
  • Exploring courses and activities.
  • Either having no idea what they’d like to do or having difficulty articulating why they are interested in a particular career field, or why it would be a good fit.

How you can help:

  • Encourage exploration and discovery of his or her values, interests, priorities, and skills, as well as careers fields that MIGHT be of interest.
  • Ask open-ended, reflective questions.
  • Allow your student to think about, articulate, and ultimately determine their own path.
  • Give your input while respecting that they must seek these answers themselves in order to fully learn and grow from the process.

Sophomores

Student Profile:

  • Feeling significant pressure related to career direction questions as a result of the need to declare a concentration.
  • Mistakenly believing that the concentration must strongly correlate with one’s first job after graduation; thus, the concentration decision carries the additional burden of being a career decision at a time when the student is not prepared to make it.
  • Some students feel pressure (whether real or imagined) to choose a concentration that will please their parents.
  • Some students might feel as if they’re choosing between a concentration that they will enjoy and perform well in versus a major that is “practical” or “marketable” to employers.

How you can help:

  • Remember that a student’s choice of concentration does not guarantee nor preclude one from a certain career field. To find out the career outcomes for recent graduates by concentration, visit our outcome data page.
  • Encourage your student to concentrate in a subject area that truly interests him or her and provides the skillset he or she is looking to acquire.
  • Engage in a dialogue about the decision criteria and the process and resources to gather accurate information.

Juniors

Student Profile:

  • Want to know what they should do right now to prepare to find a summer internship that might lead to a full-time position.

How you can help:  

  • Urge your child to set up informational interviews with your contacts within the career fields that interest them.  CareerLAB can help students connect with alums. If you are able, tap into a personal network on your child’s behalf.
  • Make sure your student is well-prepared to professionally articulate his/her knowledge, skills, experiences, and aspirations in an interview.
  • Visit our Informational Interviewing page to learn more about proper preparation as well as methods to tap into the Brown University alumni and parent network.
  • You may need to provide financial support to your student during their summer internship as many attractive internships are unpaid. There are also opportunities to receive funding from the University from a LINK award or an Undergraduate Teaching and Research Awards (UTRAs).
  • If at all possible, don’t let these expenses prevent your student from participating in a crucial personal and professional development opportunity.

Seniors

Student Profile:

  • Seniors’ emotional states are split between the harsh reality of entering the "real world" and the excitement of being the most wise and experienced students on campus.
  • For seniors who have not started their career process yet, the fall semester involves cramming four years of career planning, reflection and preparation into four months – or four months in an emotional state of denial and apathy.
  • Often, students’ expectations do not align with the hiring and recruiting cycles of the jobs that they are pursuing and the time required to adequately be prepared for a very intensive job search in an extremely competitive job market.

How you can help:

  • Ask about his or her progress in his career or graduate school search. If your student has a fully developed plan and has been following it, commend him/her, if not, encourage him/her to visit CareerLAB to develop a plan with an advisor.
  • Ask your student if he or she would be willing to share his or her plan with you and inquire how you can support your student in the process. It will be his or her journey, but you can be a supportive resource.
  • If your student is following a well thought-out plan, a positive end result will come. Last year, 94% of the Brown University graduating class of 2013 reported at six months after graduation that they were employed, attending graduate school or pursuing other endeavors.
  • Encourage your student so that he or she may learn and succeed in the process and still make the most of his or her senior year.