Parents & Families

Professional Development

Students at Commencement Ceremony

What does the Office of Professional Development provide?

The Office of Professional Development offers assistance to students seeking to determine and match their skills, interests and abilities with an internship, career path or graduate school placement.

Resources include:

  • Assessments (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and Strong Interest Inventory)
  • Career and Graduate School Advising
  • Career and Graduate School Visits and Fairs
  • Interfolio Credentials & Dossier Service
  • Internship and Job Search Information
  • Online Career Center
  • Real World 101: Life After College (3 unit May Term course)
  • Resume, Cover Letter and Personal Statement Critiques
  • UR Career Network
  • Workshops and Class/ Group Presentations

Students can access the resources Professional Development provides free of charge and can work with a development professional as often as necessary. The Office of Professional Development is located in the Student Development Center on the lower level of the Armacost Library.

Hours of Operation:
Monday –Thursday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

When should my son or daughter start utilizing the resources of the Office of Professional Development?

Professional development ideally begins the first year of college and continues for the duration of a student’s education. A simple PATH is recommended, which allows students to explore, assess, make decisions, set goals and determine a course of action:

Personal Assessment – First Year Students

  • Assess interests, personality and skills
  • Seek academic advising
  • Explore possible majors
  • Pursue extracurricular involvement

A ttention to Individual Resources – Sophomore Students

  • Investigate career paths based on majors
  • Focus on major choice
  • Enhance work skills
  • Expand extracurricular involvement
  • Consider a summer internship

T argeting a Path – Junior Students

  • Develop a resume and draft a sample cover letter
  • Examine careers through informational interviewing
  • Learn basic internship and job search strategies
  • Obtain an internship
  • Seek leadership positions in campus organizations
  • Analyze graduate school options

H eading Into the Future – Senior Students

  • Polish professional resume and cover letter
  • Hone presentation skills (interviewing, professional attire)
  • Resource potential employers
  • Engage in active job search early
  • Apply to graduate school
  • Consider alternative options (travel abroad, Peace Corps, etc.)

Does the Office of Professional Development guarantee placement for students?

Rather than guarantee placement for students, it is the mission of the Office of Career Services to teach career planning and development skills that can be used while a student, following graduation from the University of Redlands, and throughout one’s professional life.

What do most Redlands students plan to do post-graduation?

Traditionally, approximately 70% of students graduate with jobs or are job searching, and about 30% go on to graduate/professional schools or credential programs.

As a parent, how can I best encourage my student to utilize the resources provided by the Office of Professional Development to attain their career goals?

Choosing a career is a process students need to go through - and students go through the stages of the process at different rates of speed. The steps include:

  1. Assessing skills, interests and abilities
  2. Exploring majors and career options
  3. Experimenting with possible career options
  4. Organizing and conducting a job or graduate school search

As a parent, you will want to support your student in each of these stages, but how? One of the most important things parents can do to help their student with career planning is to listen:

  • Be open to ideas
  • Try to help your student find information
  • Be non-judgmental

First-Year Parents

In the first year of college, students will be assessing, either informally or formally, their skills, interests and abilities. They will take courses they never knew existed and be exposed to majors they hadn’t previously considered. Even those who enter college with a plan may be drawn to other options. Support your child’s exploration of the new areas of study and interests that are a part of the University of Redlands experience.

As a first-year parent:

  • Affirm what you know to be the talents and strengths your student has consistently demonstrated. Sometimes what’s obvious to you isn’t necessarily obvious to them.
  • Talk with your son or daughter on a regular basis about the classes and activities he or she is enjoying and excelling in.
  • Support his or her involvement in campus activities, but as a balance to classroom achievement.
  • Encourage your student to find out where Professional Development is located (in the Student Development Center on the ground floor of the Armacost Library) and to take advantage of the assessment instruments that are offered to help him/her ascertain skills, interests and abilities.

Second Year-Parents

During the second year of college, students begin to explore majors and career options more seriously. The Liberal Arts Foundation courses required at Redlands encourage students to study a broad range of subjects to promote just this.

As the parent of a sophomore:

  • Allow your son or daughter plenty of time to make a major and/or possible career choice. Prepare yourself for your student’s plans to develop and change – sometimes frequently!
  • Suggest that he/she talk not only to you, but also with family, friends or colleagues, fellow students, favorite faculty members, a career advisor and/or Redlands alumni about potential majors and career fields. (Students should contact Professional Development for access to the UR Career Network and/or for instruction with regard to informational interviewing.)
  • Try not to be alarmed if your student is excited about majoring in something “impractical” like English, History or Art. Liberal arts studies sharpen skills which are critical to employers: strong written and oral communication skills; problem-solving skills; the ability to synthesize information, etc. It is important your student be allowed to follow his/her own interests and passions.
  • Suggest learning a foreign language and developing strong computer skills. Such skills are particularly helpful in today’s job market, no matter what the field.

Third-Year Parents

In the third year of college, it is important for students to experiment with possible career options. They can do this in a variety of ways: volunteer experiences, internships and/or via part-time or summer jobs.

As a third-year parent:

  • Encourage your son or daughter to utilize the resources available in Professional Development to prepare a resume and to find opportunities to test their career choices.
  • Let him/her know that you understand the importance of gaining exposure to and experience in his or her field of interest outside the classroom. Encourage your son or daughter to pursue at least one internship (paid or unpaid) in the career field he/she aspires to enter. Future employers will seek graduates with relevant, real-world work experience over those without.
  • Support your student in these endeavors as much as possible, even though the time commitment required may impact their studies or the amount of money they have in their pocket.
  • Resist the temptation to conduct the internship or part-time job search for your son or daughter. Do provide networking contacts where possible, but encourage your student to seek the resources of Professional Development so that they learn how to network and job search themselves.

Parents of Graduating Seniors

In the senior year, organizing and conducting a job or graduate school search is a top priority. It is also a time when students are at a capstone point in their major and have increasingly responsible roles in campus or volunteer activities and/or additional work demands. Balancing these important pursuits and setting priorities can drain even the most well-prepared senior.

As the parent of a senior:

  • Suggest your student utilize Professional Development resources on an ongoing basis throughout the senior year. Staying on track with a career advisor can make the steps to a full-time job or graduate school manageable.
  • Offer to assist by sharing information you may have found about the career field of your students’ choice and/or job listings that may be of interest. If he/she says “enough” however, heed the warning!
  • Whatever you do, resist the urge to intervene on your son or daughter’s behalf at any point in the job or graduate school search. It is important that he/she – and no one else – demonstrates the qualities and skills sought in an ideal candidate.
  • Be prepared to support your soon-to-be college graduate through the ups and downs of the job or graduate school search. It is not uncommon for students to be relatively crushed by their first rejection and it’s your job as their “head cheerleader” to encourage them to persevere!

    Adapted from parent resources provided online by

See Also

Thurber, an English bulldog, is the University's mascot.

He is named after Clarence Howe Thurber, University president from 1933-37.

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