Challenging Appointments: Ideas for Supporting Students

Leonora Hall, Elon Career Advising Fellow

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Career advising appointments can be fairly predictable.  They often start with building rapport, inquiring about the student’s goals, sharing relevant information/ resources and discussing the next steps for the student.  However, challenging and supporting students is not always easy.  Recently, I advised a student who wanted me to answer questions that I could not answer because he needed to make the decisions on his own.  Our conversation seemed to go in circles because the student pressed for answers and repeated the same questions.  Furthermore, he wanted me to edit his resume for him.  The student had very little involvement for an upperclassman and voiced his concern about his limited experiences.  He said he felt overwhelmed balancing classes and involvement.

After collaborating with another professional, I received the following ideas to help guide the next appointment to be more productive:

  1. Find out more about the student’s goals (does he want to work for a big or small company?).
  2. Determine what skills the student already has with the activity below. Hopefully, this will build the student’s confidence by helping him recognize skills he does have and help him feel more at ease.
  3. Discuss how the student can develop skills he does not have yet.

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I was prepared and looking forward to meeting with the student a second time.  Unfortunately, the student missed his follow up appointments.  My new plan is to follow up by email and check in with the student.  Furthermore, I considered that the student might be in Perry’s early stage of development which would explain him wanting someone else to give him the answers.  I cannot do the work for him but I can try to help him take the next steps by reaching out.

How would you handle this appointment?  I would love to hear your ideas because I am sure there are many effective approaches.

http://ii.library.jhu.edu/2013/12/13/perrys-scheme-understanding-the-intellectual-development-of-college-age-students/

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