Office of Academic Advising
Academic Advising Handbook

Section 4: Helping Students With Career Development

What is Career Development?

Career development encompasses or interfaces with all aspects of people's lives. For WPI students, career development involves more than the completion of specified degree requirements leading to a particular academic degree. Career planning must incorporate students' values, goals, interests, skills, and other individual variables. WPI students also need strong interpersonal communication skills to be professionally successful in the constantly changing world of work.

Comprehensive career development services are available at WPI to prepare students for the work environment of the future. All components of the campus must work together to help students achieve their professional goals. The Career Development Center (CDC) provides a wide range of services related to career development. Academic advisors who have regular contact with students can serve as their mentors and professional role models. In some cases, the academic advisors are the primary career planning resource, and in other cases, their role is to identify student needs and refer them to the appropriate resources.

Student career development encompasses three broad areas: self-awareness, world of work knowledge, and educational awareness. The major components of these areas are outlined on the following pages.

Advisors need to be familiar with all these components even though students may be referred to other offices for specific information or assistance. CDC provides many services in the self-awareness component. Advisors, however, still need to be prepared to discuss these issues with students, understand the importance of self-awareness in career planning, and identify students who could benefit from further assistance.

While advisors need to be knowledgeable about the general world of work area, the CDC is a strong resource and students themselves will have to research particular jobs. The components of educational awareness clearly fall in the domain of academic advising.

The overall career development process is described next, along with a more in-depth description of the areas of self-awareness, world of work, and academic awareness. Student issues that academic advisors may encounter are listed and Student Affairs resources are noted.

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Last modified: October 23, 2008 13:05:07