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Six Tips for Spring Semester Success

February 5, 2020

The academic year is at the midpoint. At this stage, we hope first-year students have found their home at Fisher, made friends, expanded their knowledge, and at the very least, learned how to do their own laundry! For more experienced students, they’ve learned the campus shortcuts when the wind is howling, finessed ways to organize their time, and are masters at creating a three-course meal with an iron, foil, and a Keurig.

Seriously, as parents you’re probably wondering what could you be doing to nudge your student forward? Here are a few suggestions from Drs. Julia Overton-Healy and Michelle Erklenz-Watts, directors of the Center for Career and Academic Planning (CCAP):

Ask (nudge) if they have events sponsored by CCAP in their planner (or phone calendar). We have everything from networking boot camps to career fairs to etiquette dinners this spring! Encourage them to apply to the newly announced Fisher Flight Plan career immersion trip to Washington, DC (April 2-3, 2020). If they are still exploring majors, the Academic Showcase on Wednesday, Feb. 19 is strongly recommended.

Ask to see their Handshake profile. Handshake is our career management system, and students can create a professional profile, which is seen by our partner employers. Handshake is where all jobs and internships are posted, so if your student isn’t using Handshake, they’re missing out on literally thousands of opportunities.

Suggest that during Spring Break they do a few informational interviews with people who have jobs of interest. The best way to explore a career path is to talk to someone who’s already walked it. CCAP can help them get ready, and they can use Cardinal Connections as a way to locate alumni who will be happy to interview with them.

Summer registration opens on Monday, Feb. 24 and fall registration opens Monday, March 30. Meeting with a first-year advisor the weeks before can help students make smarter choices about electives, schedules, and discuss strategies for success.

Sophomore students might need nudging to step into leadership roles in clubs and organizations. We encourage involvement - but balanced carefully. An academic club, a service or leadership organization, and one just for fun is what we recommend. The sophomore year is the perfect time to make choices about involvement, and decisions about where to lead.

The last half of the spring semester can be especially high-stress for graduating seniors. If they’re going to work, they need a rock star résumé, strong interviewing skills, and a job search plan (looking at Indeed is not a plan… it’s an activity). Nudge your senior to set up several meetings with a CCAP advisor to help them build a strategy to control the chaos.

Remember: we’re your partners to help your student create success. Give us a call if you have concerns or ideas -- we would enjoy talking with you.