College career services centers play an important role in helping students transition from education to employment. Career service facilities offer a host of benefits that help prepare students and graduates for career success. Navigating career development and job hunting processes can be overwhelming and intimidating, but the best college career services departments provide ongoing support and direction. Career advising helps students clarify goals, explore strengths, set expectations, and connect with mentors. Some large universities devote entire departments to career services that correspond with specific professional schools. Benefits typically available at colleges of all sizes include career fairs, networking events, and access to job listings.
To evaluate the quality of career services departments as you develop a list of prospective schools, consider a variety of factors. Does the school offer all the basics of career development, such as self-assessment tools, job search databases, resume review, and career advising? Many offices also provide internship placement assistance, workshops, and specialized libraries available on campus and online. Does the school provide lifetime access to career services for alums? It's also a good sign if the school maintains strong connections to employers and provides on-campus recruiting opportunities.
|1||University of Notre Dame Notre Dame, IN||
The Center for Career Development at Notre Dame is one of the largest college career centers in the U.S. The center occupies five offices in the Duncan Student Center and features a facility for on-campus interviewing. The undergraduate career services center maintains a dedicated staff of 35. This includes two teams: an engagement team for first- and second-year students, and an exploration team to provide assistance in specific fields and industries.
Resources that help foster career connections include IrishCompass, an official online community exclusive to Notre Dame students and alumni. Minority students receive access to many diversity and inclusion resources through the center, including a professional development fund for eligible students. The center also publishes a career development guide annually in digital form and hardcopy for all students. Topics include developing an outstanding LinkedIn profile, finding a funded internship, networking tips, preparing for interviews, and guidance on career discernment.
|2||Wake Forest University Winston-Salem, NC||
The Office of Personal and Career Development at Wake Forest University boasts its recognized status as a trailblazer in college career services. Regarding career planning as a mission-critical component of campus culture during all four years for undergraduates, the school reports impressive student outcomes, including a 97% job placement rate within six months of graduation. The office focuses its efforts on building a college-to-career community support team for students and offers innovative initiatives to help students rethink success and prepare for the challenges of a competitive job market.
Wake Forest students can build a profile on the Handshake app to investigate opportunities and events matching their interests. The career center also features a mentoring center staffed by an experienced advisory team, a strong employer relations outreach program, and career coaches equipped to provide field-specific career development advice.
|3||Clarkson University Potsdam, NY||
Clarkson University's career center offer many services to its students. Thanks to a progressive and proactive approach, the Clarkson career center boasts an overall job placement rate of 96% and an average starting salary of $54,967 for its graduates, who have obtained employment at Lockheed Martin, General Electric, and Amazon. According to the career center, one in five Clarkson University graduates becomes a CEO, vice president, or business owner.
With six full-time employees, the career center prides itself on its active role in helping students reach their goals by maintaining strong ties with industry partners and fostering early engagement with career planning. Learners can maintain a resume on the school's Knightlink platform for networking with employers and search the CareerShift database for job listings and in-depth company contact info. Other available services include employer-sponsored competitions, webinars with alums, and an employer-in-residence program.
|4||Northeastern University Boston, MA||
Northeastern University's career center in Boston, Massachusetts, boasts innovative initiatives and award-winning excellence in diversity and inclusion. The center's offerings for underserved populations includes a designated career resource center devoted to LGBTQA students and a nuCause initiative, which promotes awareness of social engagement careers.
The school's career center hosts a unique resident employers program, in which employers maintain private offices on campus, making themselves available for appointments, Skype meetings, and drop-in hours to work with students one-on-one and help them shape their career plans. For resume hosting, career fair registration, job searches, and networking, students can log into the NUcareers platform. The center also hosts monthly networking events for alums, who receive lifelong access to career development services. "The Works," which is the center's career development blog, provides advice on topics such as group projects, freelancing in creative careers, and exploring international co-op opportunities.
|5||University of Florida Gainesville, FL||
The University of Florida Career Connections Center assists students in finding career success. With an award-winning staff efficiently serving more than 52,000 students and alums, the center manages a variety of innovative initiatives. Among the center's publications is an annual report featuring employment connections, workshops, and other information on career center usage. The center also provides an interactive dashboard for tracking student outcomes data.
Resources for students include CHOMP (Career Help for Major Planning) for Gators, a special collection of activities that explore skills, identify interests, and develop a plan of action to meet goals. Students and alums can post resumes, search for job opportunities, and connect with peers on the CareerLink platform. The center has an embedded liaison, who is a career adviser specialized in providing guidance for specific majors. Industry partners recruiting on campus include VMWare Airwatch, Fisher Investments, and Citrix.
|6||Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology Terre Haute, IN||
The Career Services and Employer Relations office at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in Terre Haute, Indiana, stands out for its commitment to maintaining mutually beneficial partnerships with local and global industries. Hundreds of respected employers attend the school's three annual career fairs. Indiana companies can take advantage of campus-based internship programs, including Rose Hulman Ventures, which allows students to work under the direct supervision of an engineering staff. Partner employers include Ingredion, Probo Medical, and Marathon Petroleum.
The office offers a variety of summer internships and academic co-ops. In addition to skilled counseling regarding interviews, resumes, and handling job offers, the center provides career advice that is tailored to international students. Other notable offerings include the roseSTEM alum portal and "The Rose Show," a showcase of innovative student projects that benefit alumni, students, and employers.
|7||Clemson University Clemson, SC||
With an impressive 83% usage rate among the graduating class of 2017, the Clemson career services office boasts a strong student engagement profile. In keeping with its mission to focus on experiential learning activities throughout the career development process, the office assists students and alums in developing transferable core career competencies, including integrity, adaptability, and branding.
Clemson's career center offers co-op mentoring programs, on-campus interviewing, professional development workshops, and a peer advising program. The ClemsonJobLink platform serves as an online recruiting system, and students can explore the career center's website for extensive career data, analytics, and salary information. With a strong commitment to embracing diversity, the career center offers a variety of resources for underserved student populations and family members. Students can also take advantage of international internship programs and a corporate partner program that features prominent employers, such as Blackbaud, Synnex, and Vanguard.
|8||Pennsylvania State University University Park, PA||
With its main office based at the Bank of America Career Services Center in University Park, the Penn State career center offers an array of services to help students and alums make career decisions and acquire skills to carry out their plans. Penn State's Nittany Lion Careers Network, developed through the coordinated efforts of all individual college and campus career offices, provides a comprehensive career management system serving students, recruiters, and alumni throughout the entire university network. The Nittany Lion system allows students to sign up for career fairs, on-campus interviews, job shadowing, and career counseling appointments.
Students and alums can peruse the career services office and website to access salary research tips, career preparation workshops, and other resources to sharpen their skills. Students can also sign up for an individual professional mentor who works with them throughout their education. Alums receive lifetime access to career services at Penn State.
|9||University of Texas at Austin Austin, TX||
The Career Services at UT Austin provides an extensive range of career development services, including recruiting, career coaching, webinars, workshops, and graduate school planning. Since UT Austin serves more than 51,000 students, each college within the larger university maintains its own career services department. Each career service department provides access to job and internship banks, on-campus interviews, and career fairs.
Students can find additional resources to help them streamline industry and company research, consider options such as entrepreneurship and freelancing, and conduct local and international job searches. In some cases, students can also earn college credit for their career search studies. Alums receive free, lifelong access to the HireUTexas campus-wide job board, and alums who are members of the TexasExes association also receive discounted services, including career coaching, career transition, and leadership development.
|10||Barnard College New York, NY||
The Career Development Office at Barnard College in New York City focuses its career advising approach on learning by doing. MillieCareers, the school's career services platform powered by the Handshake app, offers a variety of options. In addition to seeking on-campus and off-campus employment through BarnardWorks, students can explore mentorship programs; sign up for the Careers and Coffee speaker series; investigate the Jumpstart program for industry-specific, lecture-based practical training bootcamps; and enroll in the Take a Barnard Student to Work program.
Other available services include drop-in advising, peer advising, career self-assessment tools, and the Suitable Suits Closet, which provides professional attire for interviews or career fairs. Barnard also provides information on a range of funding opportunities, including funded internships, post-graduate fellowships, and funds for attendance at professional conferences. The school tracks post-graduation destination outcomes; top employers hiring Barnard graduates include JP Morgan, IBM, and Columbia University.
|11||Bentley University Waltham, MA||
CareerEdge, the Bentley University Career Services department in Waltham, Massachusetts, structures its career advising services around a model of creating career communities. The department uses a holistic, collaborative ecosystem in which faculty, students, mentors, and alums can connect around shared professional interests, bridging classroom learning with relevant industry skills. Bentley's HIRE Education program, which provides career development, integrates a series of career guidance seminars into the four-year curricula.
The Mentor Marketplace platform matches students with an alum who serves as their mentor and provides individualized support. Bentley also partners with the Parker Dewey company to promote micro-internships, which match students with employers for short-term projects. Bentley's recent undergraduate career profile reports that 97% of its graduating class are employed or planning to attend graduate school.
|12||Southwestern University Georgetown, TX||
With a team approach and four award-winning staff members, career services at Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas, helps students develop an effective and tailored job search strategy. Using focused learning, occupational exploration, and assessment tools, students can develop a career direction. Learners and alums can engage with employers and qualify for internships, externships, and on-campus recruiting opportunities through the school's PirateLink platform. Students can also meet with an internship specialist one-on-one.
Offerings available on Southwestern's career services website include featured stories from alums with career advice tailored to current students, news on upcoming internship and career fairs, information on phone consultations, and other resources. The office also offers many informal opportunities for networking and advising. A career connections BBQ held in the spring brings together students and alums for short informational interviews, and students can pop in on Wednesday afternoons for short questions and a resume review.
|13||Texas A&M University College Station, TX||
Founded in 1939, the Texas A&M Career Center boasts a history of serving as a central point of contact for career development and recruiting efforts. With more than 750 programs, the career center, located in the John J. Koldus building, achieved national recognition for its excellence in career development services. Through corporate partnerships with many respected companies, including Charles Schwab, Capital One, and CenterPoint Energy, the career center hosts specialized career fairs for retail, education, agriculture, engineering, business, and many other fields.
Through the HireAggies.com system and Jobs For Aggies program, students can search for internships, externships, co-ops, and on-campus jobs. The career center's website provides links to help students search recent graduate salaries, peruse professional school admission statistics, and find out which companies hire Texas A&M students. For additional advice from recruiters and hiring managers, students can also follow the career services blog.
|14||Macalester College St. Paul, MN||
The Career Development Center at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota, maintains a strong commitment to providing student-centered guidance and successful placement for graduates. Outcomes data for the 2017 graduating class indicated a 91% overall placement rate, while 92% of students reported engagement in jobs matching their interests.
The school's career services platform, Handshake at Macalester, maintains a regularly updated database for local, part-time summer job opportunities. The Going Global site offers work opportunities in 80 countries; Macalester students can log in and create a profile while on campus and save it in order to access from another location. The career center also offers a range of resources for underserved populations, including the Macalaster Queer Professionals Network and virtual career fairs tailored toward the needs of students with disabilities. Other options for students include mentoring, career roadmaps, and detailed information on careers available to specific majors.
|15||Kansas State University Manhattan, KS||
Based in Manhattan, the Kansas State Career Center at the Berney Family Welcome Center offers a variety of resources for the university community. Students and alums can access an extensive career library, individualized career advising, and career workshops.
The center provides many resources for underserved populations, including LGBTQ students, students of color, international students, and students with disabilities. Through a special partnership with Gallup, the center also makes the StrengthsQuest assessment tool available to students during their first semester. The Majors, Minors, and More Fair provides information about educational options at Kansas State, and students can use the Handshake platform to apply for jobs and schedule on-campus interviews. Learners may also receive college credit for career development and decision-making classes. For inspiration, "Voices From The Field," which is available on the center's website, features individual career path biographies submitted by graduates. Looking for an interview suit? Check out Career Closet for free business attire donated by faculty, alumni, and staff.