How You Can Help Your Son

What can you do?  Be supportive, be informed, and be open to options that you might never have heard of before.  It's a wild, wooly world out there when it comes to getting a job! 

We suggest that you might want to familiarize yourself with our Four Year Plan and check out our Suggested Reading.  Some other suggestions of how you can assist our office include:

  • Encouraging your son to visit the Career Education and Vocational Reflection Office regularly during his college career, from freshman year on.
  • Introducing your son to professionals who can advise him on possible career paths.
  • Emphasizing the importance of experience, through involvement in extra-curricular activities, internships, and volunteer work.
  • Supporting your son as he explores possible majors and career fields.
  • Employing Hampden-Sydney graduates.
  • Identifying summer internships and jobs for underclassmen.
  • Having your organization recruit on campus.
  • Calling the Associate Dean for Career Education and Vocational Reflection at (434) 223-6106 or e-mail him when you become aware of specific job openings for direct entry hires.
  • Introducing our office to hiring contacts in your organization and those with whom you do business.
  • Arranging for students groups to visit your place of business for information sessions.
  • Volunteering to make presentations on campus.
  • Sending beneficial reading materials or videotapes for Career Library.

How can I Help my Son Choose a Major, and How will his Major Affect his Career Choices?
An academic major should be something one likes, and it should be something in which one excels.  It may be directly or indirectly related to a future career.  The reason a major is so important is because it is an academic requirement for graduation, not because it will determine what career or occupation your son can enter.

Hampden-Sydney prides itself on educating well-rounded men who, through an in-depth rhetoric program and core curriculum, learn how to think critically and communicate effectively.  Liberal arts majors, therefore, provide basic knowledge and skills that can be applied to a number of different careers.  Liberal arts majors do not restrict graduates to a few career choices; rather, they allow for a number of different career options.

As students are deciding on a major, we encourage them to examine their strengths and their interests, research potential majors, speak with other students and alumni who majored in subjects in which they have an interest, and meet with their academic advisor.

Majors do relate to careers in one significant way: they help with the further development of individual skills needed in a career. English majors, for example, usually develop excellent communications skills, especially writing skills. Math majors develop good analytical and problem-solving skills.

Career choices should be based on a genuine interest in the work and on having the abilities and skills needed for the work, not necessarily on a particular major. Career choices are also dependent upon good career information, and the best career information usually comes from personal research and work experience outside the classroom. When studying a particular subject, your son will learn more about the theories and principles of the subject than about the application of the subject to work. Knowledge about the application comes from working in a field, reading about the field, or talking with people in a field.

So encourage your son to choose the subject he wants to major in, and then encourage him to continue to research how his major relates to different career fields, and what other career fields he may not have considered.

Suggested Reading:
The Parent's Crash Course in Career Planning:  Helping your College Student Succeed
(Marcia B. Harris and Sharon L. Jones, VGM, 1996)

College Majors and Careers:  A Resource Guide for Effective Life Planning (Paul Phiffer, Ferguson, 2003)

Jobweb.org Parent Resources

Additional reading suggestions from the University of South Carolina

Would you like to become more involved in the life of the college?  Learn more about the HSC Parents Council