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Information for First-Year Parents/Guardians

Letter to First-Year Parents/Guardians

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Career Counselor Information

English Spanish

Career Fairs and Workshops

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Gaining work-related experience before and during college is very important. Whether through internships, part-time jobs or practicums, you can:

  • Explore career options from a first-hand perspective
  • Gain experience; in addition, some employers hire full-time employees from those who have completed their internship programs
  • Develop skills and enhance your knowledge base
Career Development Guide

High school is one of the most exciting and challenging times to make education and career choices. You will be making decisions that will impact the rest of your life.

Visiting the Shocker Career Accelerator for career testing and coaching will help you make the best career choices and build a strong foundation for the rest of your life.

Having the most up-to-date career information, support and guidance by an experienced professional can turn a stressful time into a very positive experience.

Follow this career guide to build the right habits and skills for a lifetime of professional success.


High School Juniors / Seniors
It is never to early to start thinking about your future career. Follow these steps to start preparing.

  • Get involved in your school and the community. Learn where your interests, talents and skills are strongest.
  • Create a list of your involvements, for example: clubs, church or civic groups, athletics and jobs. This will form the foundation of your resume.
  • Talk to people about their careers – teachers, school counselors, parents, friends of parents, parents of friends, neighbors and acquaintances. Ask what they do and what they like most.
  • Explore and apply for college.
Self-Assessment and Career Options 

Shocker Freshmen / Sophomores
Your first step is to learn more about yourself and your interests with the ultimate goal of selecting a major and career.

  • Develop clear career goals through discussion and assessments. Choose the right major and future career path that you are passionate about.
  • Find mentors through our office in your field of interest and get firsthand knowledge of your career of industry.
  • Attend employer informational events and panels and learn what exciting employment opportunities are available.
Career Work Experience

Shocker Sophomores / Juniors / Seniors
In this highly competitive world, it is essential that you gain real-world career experience before you graduate.

  • Check-out career options for your major and gain real-world career experience through a cooperative education and/or internship position. Through these experiences you will not only gain work experience but also test career options and build a professional network.
  • Attend Shocker Career Accelerator workshops on resume development, networking skills, cooperative education and internship search techniques, career mentoring, informational interviews, workplace etiquette, leadership skills and transferable skills.
  • Get noticed by professionals by building a top-notch resume.
  • Gain access to top-level employers at career fairs and other employer outreach events.
Job Search

Shocker Seniors
You are close to graduation. Now is the time to begin your search for full-time, post-graduation employment.

  • Take part in workshops designed specifically for graduating seniors on topics like exploring and applying to graduate schools, job search techniques, LinkedIn, marketing your resume and successful interview practices.
  • Schedule a mock interview and perfect your technique while gaining valuable feedback and coaching on your performance.


Be an informed connector. Encourage your student to:

  • Read about a variety of careers; our website is a great place to start. View our online resources that we have available for you. 
  • Meet with a career counselor, especially if they are undecided about a major or career
  • Talk with people who are currently doing what they’re considering 

The Shocker Career Accelerator is here to provide support, guidance and resources for your student at every point in their career development process. Although it is up to the student alone to determine and pursue a career, you play an integral role by providing insight, encouragement and support. We encourage you to be an active part of your student’s career development and have provided a few resources to address your questions and concerns.

What Employers Want

Students report one of the main, if not the only, reasons for attending college is to prepare for a career. However, simply earning a degree is not always enough in a competitive job market. A variety of factors influence hiring decisions.

The Top 10 Most Important Skills and Qualities**

  1. Verbal communication skills
  2. Strong work ethic
  3. Teamwork skills
  4. Analytical skills
  5. Initiative
  6. Problem-solving skills
  7. Written communication skills
  8. Interpersonal skills
  9. Computer skills
  10. Flexibility/adaptability
Education & Experience

Although employers generally value similar skill sets, some industries require specific degrees and related certifications to be eligible for entrance and advancement. Others value a variety of educational backgrounds. In addition to earning a degree, extracurricular activities are important to a successful college experience.

In a recent survey, employers were asked if they had equally qualified candidates, what attributes would influence their candidate selection decision. “Major” and “has held leadership position” tied for first, while “high GPA” and “has been involved in extracurricular activities” tied for second** demonstrating that employers value both education and extracurricular success. Encourage your student to:

Research. The Shocker Career Accelerator is a great place to start. Our career counselors will help your student discover the education and skill set required for any careers of interest.

Talk to professionals in their intended field. Direct your students to the Shocker Career Accelerator where we can find them a contact through our career mentoring program. Professionals are eager to share their knowledge and experience with students.

Test drive career choice by participating in a cooperative education or internship position. Students can get a taste of what life will really be like after college when working in the real world. By working a student’s major career field, students can see if this major/career is really right for them. If it is not, there is still plenty of time to change majors before graduation day. Plus, with real-world work experience, students can increase their chances of landing their dream job after graduation, all while building a collegiate resume, earning a paycheck, developing future contacts and improving job search and interview skills.

Participate in extracurricular activities. Support your student's efforts to become involved in one or more of the 150-plus student organizations on campus or in the city of Wichita. Volunteerism is another way to build skills and add to a resume. Many employers look for someone who wants to give back to the community.

Practice time management and balance. In a perfect world, your student could do it all and do it all well, but understanding limits is an important part of the process. Ask your student questions that help to identify priorities. Most employers would rather hear about a few select, meaningful experiences than several superficial ones.

** According to National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) data collected from a 2010 survey of 197 employers about what skills and qualities they felt were most important when hiring employees.

How You Can Help
  • Direct your student to resources at the WSU Shocker Career Accelerator at (316) 978-3688,, or visit us in the John Bardo Center, Suite 162.
  • Initiate career related conversations and ask questions about career interests.
  • Encourage exploration through classes outside of their major, campus activities and volunteer experiences.
  • Discuss legitimate concerns and talk through the pros and cons of different career fields.
  • Offer feedback to your student on what you see as his/her special strengths.
  • Refer your student to colleagues, friends, neighbors, parishioners, family and community members with experiences related to his or her interests.
  • Become a career mentor and help other students find their passion.
Full-Service Career Center

Career Counseling: If your student is exploring their options or is considering a career change, a career counseling session with a career counselor can help student explore majors and careers, identify their skills and strengths and help develop a plan to reach their goals.

Job Search: If your student is looking for a job, we offer one-on-one appointments to develop a job search strategy, create or strengthen a resume and search for contacts for informational interviews.

Resume/Cover Letter Review: Students can meet with one of our staff members to review a resume or cover letter. We meet regularly with local employers to find out what they expect to see on a resume from a WSU student or graduate.

Mock Interviews: Whether applying for a full-time job, part-time job, graduate or professional school admission, students can meet one-on-one with a career counselor to practice interview skills.

Handshake: Whether your student is looking for a part-time job during their time at WSU, a cooperative education or internship position or is a recent graduate looking for full-time work, our online job board system, Handshake, features job postings from local, national and international employers.

Career Events and Workshops: Throughout the year, we offer events for students at different stages in their career development. Some examples are: career fairs, interview days, College Through Career workshops, networking events and major panels.