Career Planning

Student working on computer, group of professionals in background

Career planning is an ongoing process – one that benefits from the support of others. MHEC and MSDE empowers students and parents to work together effectively to build a foundation for success. For parents, there are resources and tips for the important role you play in your child’s journey.

Maryland’s College and Career Ready Standards

In school year 2013-2014, Maryland implemented new, higher standards for student learning the Maryland College and Career-Ready Standards in all schools across the State. Maryland’s new standards are based on the Common Core State Standards, a set of consistent, high-quality academic goals in English/language arts (ELA) and mathematics, adopted by Maryland and over 40 other states. The Maryland College and CareerReady Standards define the knowledge and skills all students should master by the end of each grade level in order to graduate from high school fully prepared to enter college and the workforce. They raise the bar for student achievement and will help Maryland build a world-class education system.

Career Counseling

Choosing a major and planning for a career can be two of the most important but difficult decisions that a college student can make. Having a career plan is very important, yet many students don't know where to begin. There are full-time career counselors that specialize in assisting students with this process. When attending career sessions or researching a career, your student shall explore their interests, abilities, and their values in order to find potential careers and college majors that can satisfy all areas. Encourage your child to make an appointment at their school’s career center to establish a career plan.

Internships and Co-ops

After a student decides on a career plan, the next step in the process is to add experience to that plan. In fact, some majors require that the student complete an internship before he/she graduates. Colleges and Universities in Maryland offer many services and resources to students to assist with securing internships, co-ops, part-time, and summer jobs, related to their major. Students who are interested in interning should visit their institutions career center at least six months before the desired internship is to begin. Counselors will help to guide students through the process of investigating possibilities, as well as outline the internship application process, discuss student responsibilities and employer expectations, and provide assistance with resumes, cover letters, and interviewing.

Encourage your child to utilize our resources and services, but also to ask friends, family, neighbors, etc. for information on where they work and what they do. Students may be interested in interning at a company and not know that a friend or relative actually works there. The connections and networks he or she forms can provide valuable leads and information. Other notes: campus/community involvement, work experience, and good grades help students to "get their foot in the door," so encourage your child to develop those skills and experiences.

Full-Time Job or Graduate School Search

After gaining experience, it is important for students to think about life after graduation. There are counselors who focus on helping students develop the skills necessary to find and apply to full-time jobs and graduate schools. For full-time jobs, this includes developing effective resumes and cover letters, sharpening interview skills through videotaped practice interview sessions, learning to use the on-campus recruiting system for the many companies who recruit at Maryland postsecondary institutions, participating in an institution’s alumni networking training and practice sessions, signing up to receive e-mail job announcements, and researching leads to other companies not locally recruiting. A full-time job search typically begins in the fall of the senior year because some companies recruit May graduates as early as the fall.

For graduate school, this involves identifying appropriate schools and programs, understanding the application process, identifying reference writers, and creating an effective application essay. Ideally, students have been developing their skills through internships and research with faculty throughout their college career, but they need to begin the graduate school research process in their junior year, especially if they are interested in highly competitive graduate programs.

Students with disabilities

In Maryland, transition planning and the delivery of transition services begins during the school year in which the student turns 14 years of age. The goal of transition planning is to assist students with disabilities as they progress through school and prepare for life in the adult world. The adult activities could be a combination of any of the following:

  • Employment
  • Post secondary education 
  • Employment training
  • Independent living
  • Community participation
  • Adult services

The MSDE, Division of Special Education/Early Intervention Services.

The Maryland State Department of Education Transition Planning Guide focuses on the movement of your child with disabilities from school to appropriate postsecondary outcomes and supports the preparation for moving on to the next stage in life. Not every student will have the same goals and outcomes. All students should have goals for future employment whether it is full or part time or employment that includes assistance to be successful. All students should have goals and outcomes for postsecondary education or training that they will need to reach their employment goals. Your child may even have specific independent living goals.

Other Tips

  •  Understand that it's very normal for new college students to explore their options and change their minds. Know that some decisions about a career choice or major need time. Be patient as your student considers the possibilities.
  •  Encourage your son or daughter to think critically and analyze the situations they are in. Employers often comment that students are recently less able to communicate and analyze their skills, talents, values, and experiences, and that they often have difficulty making decisions on their own.
  •  While parental values are important, students will be required to make many life decisions when the parent is not there. Encourage them to think independently.
  •  Ask them what involvement they have with social networking sites like Facebook and make sure they are not posting photos or information that could compromise their career goals.