Hit the Ground Running: Career Planning While in College

A Pacific University student prepares to talk to employers at a school-sponsored career networking event.

Graduate prepared to put your degree into action with career advising that combines expert mentoring and resume skill building.

Join us in closing out National Mentoring Month as we highlight Pacific’s Academic and Career Advising Center! Primed to help students succeed both in the classroom and in their careers, our experienced counselors can help you choose a major, polish your resume, and more! 

As a college student, you have plenty on your plate. There’s exams to study for, tailgates to attend, and countless dining hall waffles to eat.

So it’s understandable that career planning might fall into the background or perhaps be too intimidating to think about.

Enter your Academic and Career Advising Center. Trained to answer everything from how to make a resume for a first job to how to declare a major, the experts in your advising center can help take the stress out of starting your career.

Whether looking for a major that suits your career, or a career that suits your major, student advising is perfect for first year students, transfer students, current undergraduates, and everyone in between. 

In a survey of 115 recent Pacific graduates, 92% reported attaining postgraduate employment or graduate school admittance, due in no small part to the career counseling available while they were students.  

Why prioritize career planning and academic advising? Let’s look at the benefits.


What is Career Planning?

Career planning isn’t just thinking about what you want your job to be after graduation. 

Rather, career planning — alone or alongside an academic advisor — can consist of any activity that actively prepares you to put your education into practice. 

This means that career planning includes:

  • Exploration. You do not need to enter college knowing exactly what you want to do after graduation. Discovering what you enjoy can lead not only to fulfilling career paths, but illuminate new ways to make use of your passions.

  • Networking. Whether through your professors, peers, or your school’s alumni network, making connections during school can lead to informational interviews and potential roles at organizations on and off campus.

  • Job training. Volunteer and internship opportunities are great ways not only to learn the responsibilities of jobs in your field, but also to gain invaluable experience you can use on a new graduate resume.

  • Classwork. Taking courses recommended by an academic advisor can highlight what skills are useful in certain career paths, allowing you to be better informed when career planning. 

Can Career Advising Help Me Find a Job Before I Graduate?


Through a combination of insight into how to write a resume for recent graduates and help creating connections with alumni and employers in your area, career advisors can help you jumpstart your career while still in school. 

Many prospective grads are intimidated by the prospect of applying for jobs due to a lack of professional experience. 

However, academic and career advisors can show you how to leverage the experience you’ve gained while pursuing your degree during your job search.

By implementing coursework in your resume and highlighting any campus roles and responsibilities you’ve had (such as in clubs and organizations, athletics, or in the classroom) you can supercharge your job applications. 

How Are Academic Advising and Career Advising Different?

While academic counselors and career counselors work together to create positive outcomes for students, recent graduates, and alumni, their responsibilities are different.

Students who want to make the most of their time in school and enter the workforce prepared to put their passions in practice benefit from being mentored by both kinds of advisors. 

Academic Counselors

Career Counselors

Academic advisors help students select and declare majors, register for classes, and point students toward potential careers within their degree path.

Career advisors help students create a professional resume, connect with employers in their area, and prepare any graduate degree application materials.

What if I Choose Graduate School Instead?

Career advisors are experts at helping students put together their graduate school applications, which frequently make use of the same kinds of materials as a job application.

Graduate school can be the next step in your career path, and career counselors can help you prepare to apply as early as your first year on campus.

At Pacific, students in healthcare and STEM fields can make use of the Advantage Scholars Program, a program that combines coursework, internship opportunities, and advising to help students attend graduate school. 

Of the students who completed the Advantage Scholars Program, 98% received graduate school acceptances. 

Is There Support for Alumni Career Advising?

While academic and career advisors’ primary focus is on assisting current students, resources for alumni do exist!

Pacific alumni have access to the same job search tools as those still in a school, and the rich alumni network many schools foster can make networking easily accessible. 

Thinking of transferring? Pacific’s Academic & Career Advising Center can help transfer your credits and graduate on time with our Two-Year Transfer Guarantee!