Career Planning for A&S Students
Career Exploration Guide for Arts and Sciences Students
Career planning is important at every stage of your college career. Early career planning will allow you to select a major or minor relevant to your interests, polish your resume to get that summer job or internship, or prepare you for the graduate school or job search process. We encourage you to discuss your career interests with your advisor, faculty, staff, alumni, career counselors, or other people working in the field you want to explore.
Use the Arts & Sciences Career Guides to the right or the resources below to explore potential careers.
Here are a few resources to get you started. You may also wish to talk to your advisor, faculty in your department, someone working in the field already, or a career counselor for more information.
Setting Career Goals and Gaining Relevant Experience
When you are considering a career, it is important to set goals and develop experiences related to them.
Some things to consider when considering a career include:
- What are your career goals (be flexible)?
- What are your personal and professional goals?
- What do you need to do to achieve those goals?
Remember, high school or college may not have exposed you to all the career possibilities that you might be able to pursue. Be flexible with your goals as you may discover entirely new careers. Similarly, if you find yourself struggling in your chosen field, don't be afraid to try a different one.
What experiences may be relevant to your goals?
- Do you need a certain major, minor, or graduate degree?
- Do you need to gain certain experiences to achieve your goal?
- Do you need to earn a certain GPA requirement or take certain prerequisite courses to get into graduate school?
Here are a few ways to develop your experience:
Developing Your Career Skills
Whether applying to graduate school or for a job, it is important to develop certain skills to ensure you are ready when opportunities arise.
Here are some important tips for getting recommendations.
- Never put someone down as a reference if you haven't spoken to them about it first. If someone is surprised by a call from an employer, they may not be able to represent you as well.
- Ask appropriate people for references: Try to ask people who are relevant to what you want to do. Faculty who know you well, or can speak to your work, are good references. Someone who doesn't know you well, no matter what their title, or is a relative is generally not an ideal reference.
- Ask them as early as possible especially if they need to write a letter for you.
- Offer to meet in person or send a copy of your updated resume, when asking for a reference. That way the person can get to know you better before answering any questions or writing any letters.
- Don't worry if someone says no, or doesn't have time to write a recommendation. It is better to know that ahead of time so that you can plan to get another reference.
- Log into MyNU's FERPA settings and list the institutions/organizations you wish them to be able to speak too. This will free them up to say more about your academic history and abilities.
Keeping a polished and up-to-date resume is important, especially if you are preparing to entering into the job/graduate school market, or unexpectedly find yourself needing a job.
Get help with your resume
- Talk to Career Services for help
- Get Hired Booklet
- Search the internet for resume writing tips
- Review your resume by people in the field/friends
- Your resume and cover letter are selling your skills, but you also want to honestly represent yourself
- Spell check your documents!!!
- Be consistent with your documents (i.e. If you use bullets in one place don't use tabs in another spot, use the same 1-2 fonts throughout the document, etc...)
- Pay attention to how you format your resume/cover letter. Within reason, try to balance out white space, toy with the margins/font size, use the borders and shading functions, use headings, etc.... Each of these things can set you apart from a standard resume which may only use bold words, tabs, and bullets.
- References should be listed on a seperate sheet in the same style as your resume.
Make Multiple Versions
- If you are applying to more than one type of job make multiple resumes and highlight the relevant skills first, swap them for the other type of job. This applies to cover letters as well.
- Back up your resume on your computer and online (cloud drives, email, etc...). There is nothing more frustrating than being unable to locate your most recent resume.
Networking is an essential skill for searching for jobs or finding out about graduate opportunities.
Network with A&S Faculty, Alumni, & Friends
- Check out the Career Guides linked to this page
- Join our LinkedIn group, Niagara University Arts & Sciences Alumni & Friends
- Friend "NU Arts.and.Sciences" our biggest alumni social network
- Follow us on Twitter "NUArtSci"
- Talk to your faculty about getting involved in professional conferences
Branding is another skill to consider when searching for jobs. In essence, how do you present yourself to the world and are there ways that you can enhance your "brand" to help market yourself. This is something you will develop over time, but here are a few suggestions to consider.
- Do you have a professional email address or twitter handle (john.doe@... vs. ILuvCats@...)?
- What does your facebook, twitter, LinkedIn profile say about you? What are your privacy settings? Can people see tagged photos of you? Review your settings periodically.
- Be yourself, but also be aware of your actions and what you, or someone else, might post publically. Avoid anything that might jeopardize your career options (DUI, felony, etc...)
- Consider how you may be able to use Twitter or LinkedIn to connect with professional discussions (conference back channels), network with others, or track trends in the field you wish to enter.
Searching for a Graduate School
Here are some resources that will help you get started in searching for graduate schools. The major specific pages contain more detailed links and professional organizations.
Do the programs you are applying to require a graduate exam?
- Find out more about required exams (GRE, LSAT, MCAT, GMAT, Miller's Analogy Test, etc.).
- Niagara offers some testing on-campus through the Counseling Center.
- Niagara periodically offers practice tests on campus through Kaplan.
Do the programs you are applying to require a certain GPA?
- What GPA is required by the programs you are looking for and does it vary by school?
- How does your GPA compare?
- What can you do to balance out your GPA (GPA calculator, test scores, experience...)?
What are the deadlines for applying for graduate school.
- Some graduate schools have deadlines in December, January, February, or March, while others may have rolling admissions which accept students all year long.
- Are their different deadlines for early admission?
What level of degree are you applying for? What level is required to pursue your goals?
- Certificate program
- Master's level degree / professional degree
- Doctorate, Ph.D., M.D., etc.
Note that some fields and some doctoral programs may have more money available to assist students through assistantships, scholarships, teaching fellowships, etc.
How many schools should I apply too?
- How many schools have relevant programs, and how willing are you to relocate?
- How many application fees can you afford?
- Apply to more schools if your GPA isn't exactly where you want it too be when applying.
- Different schools may offer different financial incentives, so it may give you more options later.
1) 5-year B.S./M.S. program in Criminal Justice (up to 3 graduate courses)
- Must have 3.0+ GPA (major or minor in criminal justice recommended)
- Must apply to the BS/MS program
- Graduate courses can fit as advised electives (cannot fulfill other requirements)
2) Seniors with a 3.0+ GPA can take up to 2 extra graduate courses
- Must be full time with at least 4 UG courses
- Must be extra courses beyond your degree requirements (can't fulfil graduation requirements)
- MBA - For anyone interested in an MBA, there are prerequisite courses at the undergradute level that will reduce the number of graduate courses necessary to complete the degree.
- Education requires a language/ASL course. A liberal arts degree is required for elementary education. 36 credits hours in certain content areas are required for Secondary Education.
If your NU GPA is high enough, it may excuse you from some of the standardized tests required for graduate admissions.