The Best College Career Centers

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by Staff Writers

Published November 19, 2020

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All students hope to find a fulfilling and rewarding career after graduation, and college career centers help graduates meet this goal.

College career centers offer comprehensive services for students and alumni. These services may include resume preparation tips, interview coaching, peer counseling, and alumni networking opportunities. Staff members begin working with students early in their college experience, helping them plan their career path.

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Schools have adapted to students' changing needs amid the ongoing COVID-19 health crisis, providing many college career services virtually. Some schools have also started offering job searches geared toward the needs of a remote workforce.

This guide provides a ranking of colleges and universities with the best college career centers in the country. The methodology for this ranking considered graduation and career placement rates reported to the U.S. Department of Education for the College Scorecard. We also considered each school's services for on-campus students, distance learners, and alumni.

Top Top College Career Centers

The Best College Career Centers

  1. Worcester Polytechnic Institute
    Location

    Worcester, Massachusetts

    WPI — a private research university — serves about 4,500 undergraduate students on its campus in Worcester, Massachusetts. WPI also enrolls graduate students on campus and online.

    WPI emphasizes project-based learning and offers more than 50 degrees. All first-year students receive a $5,000 scholarship to participate in the Global Projects Program. This program allows students to take part in service learning at sites around the world.

    The institute's career development center helps students identify majors and explore careers. The office also helps students set up social media profiles, apply to graduate school, and find internships. Virtual appointments allow students to access these services from a distance.

    Each year, two on-campus career fairs bring prospective employers and students together, and the school also hosts regularly scheduled networking nights and career expos. The career development center also facilitates virtual career fairs and online job postings.

  2. University of Florida
    Location

    Gainesville, Florida

    UF encourages students to visit the Career Connections Center early in their college experience. At the center, students can find help choosing a major and designing a career path. The school uses an online, interactive tool to help students determine work interests, values, and career readiness. Individual sessions with career coaches offer more personalized advising.

    Learners can also take part in a career experience during their studies. From part-time jobs to internships, students can test-drive potential careers. The center helps connect students to networking opportunities with professionals in their field.

    The center has also developed an eight-semester guide to help learners prepare for a career. The guide encourages students to visit the career center, attend an academic fair of majors and minors, and plan meaningful summer experiences. The center's staff can critique resumes, identify job opportunities, offer interview preparation tips, and help evaluate potential job offers.

  3. Penn State University
    Location

    University Park, Pennsylvania

    Penn State's career center continues to help students long after they complete their degrees. Dedicated staff members work with alumni to provide career counseling, coaching, and educational webinars.

    The school has expanded its university office with campus and college-specific offices. These offices help coordinate internships and networking. They also work with recruiters and companies to provide opportunities for students and alumni.

    Based in University Park, Penn State serves more than 90,000 students, including more than 8,000 students through the online Penn State World Campus. The career services office provides online and virtual counseling sessions. Virtual career fairs and an online job search database also help students connect with potential employers.

  4. Stonehill College
    Location

    North Easton, Massachusetts

    Mentoring takes a lead role in career development at Stonehill. Alumni and peers volunteer to offer students advice and guidance as learners choose a major and prepare for their future careers. Stonehill's Career Development Center helps connect these volunteers with students.

    The center helps coordinate internship and cooperative learning experiences in cities like Boston, New York, Los Angeles, and the District of Columbia. Resume and interview coaching prepares students for a competitive job market.

    The center's career resources can also help students explore career options and plan their career path. Conferences and workshops keep students on track for employment after graduation. The staff also offers one-on-one counseling.

    The school's popular resume labs allow students to get feedback on their resumes quickly. Additionally, the online career services database includes job opportunities from more than 150 employers.

  5. Elon University
    Location

    Elon, North Carolina

    Elon — based in northwest North Carolina — incorporates hands-on, experiential learning throughout its academic programs. This focus enhances a student's educational experience and also provides them with valuable skills they can highlight when applying for jobs.

    The university reports that 87% of its learners participate in an internship during their studies. The university's career center helps students find opportunities by coordinating alumni and employers. The majority of graduates say these experiences enhanced their career network.

    The career center also helps students choose a career path, with career advisors in offices across the campus. Students can access resume reviews, mock interviews, and career panels to prepare for their job search. Elon also hosts career fairs and helps employers connect with potential hires.

  6. Clemson University
    Location

    Clemson, South Carolina

    South Carolina's Clemson University helps students connect their educational experience with their career goals, guiding learners to career development and hands-on learning opportunities that complement their studies. More than 70% of Clemson graduates take part in an internship or cooperative education program.

    Clemson's career counselors use a variety of tools to help students chart their career paths. Counseling sessions may include choosing a major or taking a career assessment. Students can also get help writing their resume, graduate school essays, and personal statements. Additionally, mock interviews help students build confidence before meeting with potential employers. The on-campus Career Closet helps students dress to impress for interviews, with business attire available for free.

    The university also offers multiple online resources, including ClemsonJobLink, which features an expansive network of potential employers. Virtual career fairs include campus-wide events and targeted programs for specific majors.

  7. Syracuse University
    Location

    Syracuse, New York

    More than 40% of recent Syracuse graduates reported finding a job before graduation. Some of this success is due to the school's career center, which helps students explore potential careers, build job search skills, and connect with alumni and potential employers.

    Career counselors use online self-assessments and one-on-one sessions to help students find their career path. Once students set their goals, advisors help them gain industry experience. The 'Cuse Works online platform connects students with part-time jobs on and off campus and thousands of internship opportunities.

    The career center also helps students build their social media profiles and hosts online and virtual networking events for alumni and students. Additionally, career fairs and employer information sessions provide students with information about career opportunities. Alumni can also use these services when looking for a new job.

  8. University of Texas at Austin
    Location

    Austin, Texas

    UT Austin helps students build connections across campus and around the world. HookedIn — a virtual networking platform — allows current students to connect with the more than 500,000 members of the UT Austin alumni network. Students can find professional mentors, learn about exciting internships, and find career opportunities through these connections.

    The college's career services office also helps students find special interest groups, summer programs, and volunteer opportunities that complement their career goals. The Hire U Texas online job board features part-time and full-time job opportunities with more than 24,000 employers, as well as thousands of internships.

    Students can also access resume and cover letter assistance and pointers for interviewing. While the university as a whole provides comprehensive services for students, field-specific offices also provide tailored coaching and career counseling.

  9. Illinois Wesleyan University
    Location

    Bloomington, Indiana

    Illinois Wesleyan — located in Bloomington — serves about 1,600 students. The university's alumni network includes more than 22,000 graduates representing 50 states and roughly 50 countries. The career services office connects students to the alumni network through virtual career connectors and internships. Students can also take advantage of career immersion excursions, which allow participants to explore a city, connect with professionals in their field, and build strong connections after graduation.

    More than 76% of students participate in an internship during their time at Illinois Wesleyan. These practical experiences provide full-time and part-time work opportunities. The Handshake career development platform helps connect more than 500 students to internships each year.

    Career counselors also offer comprehensive career exploration help, counseling services, and job search preparation. Students can submit their resumes for review and prepare for interviews. Career fairs bring hundreds of companies to campus each year.

  10. Providence College
    Location

    Providence , Rhode Island

    PC's career counselors understand that a career means more than a paycheck. They use a variety of assessments to help students find a vocation that matches their skills and passions.

    The college's online resources help students through each stage of career development. Videos and interactive career planning systems allow students to explore majors and potential jobs. Vmock offers resume tips and Big Interview helps prepare candidates for interviews. The career center's staff also offer career coaching appointments and drop-in hours to help create resumes and update career plans.

    More than 80% of students take part in internships while attending PC. The school's Handshake career platform helps students find these and other career opportunities. FriarLink helps connect students with alumni in their career field. Additionally, the school transitioned to virtual career fairs in 2020, helping connect students with employers.

What Is the Purpose of a College Career Center?

The resources, training opportunities, and networking events hosted by career centers help students find work in their field after graduation. Companies often work directly with career center staff to advertise open positions and arrange internship opportunities. College career centers also host career fairs.

Career centers can also help students identify their dream job. Career counseling and interest surveys allow learners to evaluate multiple career fields and find a good fit. Career centers may also offer to connect students with alumni in their selected occupation for job shadowing opportunities.

What Can College Career Centers Do for Students?

College career centers do not typically place students directly in careers. Instead, staff members provide guidance and resources that can improve career search success.

In addition to providing resume assistance and interview coaching, a career center can also offer tips for conducting a modern job search. Staff may help you set up a LinkedIn profile or navigate online search services.

Career centers focus on helping students build skills they can continue to use long after graduating and beginning their careers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average professional works more than 12 jobs throughout their working life. As such, you will likely use the skills developed at a career center multiple times.

In What Year Should Students Visit Their College's Career Center?

College career centers can help you with your career decisions as early as your first year of college. Self-assessment tools, such as interest inventories and personality tests, can help an undecided student choose a major and career field that interests them and aligns with their goals.

As you progress in your studies, you can also visit the college career center to find an internship. Internships allow students to gain hands-on experience while earning academic credit. Many students pursue internships during the summers after their sophomore and junior years.

Students nearing graduation can use the career center to prepare for their job search. The staff can help evaluate resumes and conduct mock interviews. Many schools also maintain a database of employment opportunities with area businesses.

How Difficult Is It for Students to Find a Job After Graduation?

While college graduates have historically enjoyed low unemployment rates, with only 2% unemployment in January, the COVID-19 pandemic has increased unemployment rates across the nation. In September, unemployment in the U.S. was 7.9% overall, but 12.5% for people ages 20-24.

As a result, graduates may face stiff competition for jobs upon graduation. Career opportunities also vary by industry and academic major. Nursing, science and engineering, and computer science careers continue to enjoy strong job growth.

College career centers can provide information on careers with high growth potential and more job opportunities in your region. This information can help you choose a degree plan that aligns with both your interests and the job market.

Find Additional Resources

Your Guide to Landing a Job

Your Guide to Job Hunting

How to Make the Most of Online Career Centers


Explore Related Rankings

BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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