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Four-Year Career Development Plan

Career Services at Washburn University is an integral part of the networks between students/alumni and potential employers. Career Services does much more than help students and alumni find jobs. We provide comprehensive career services and extensive networking opportunities through workshops, seminars, and campus-wide career fairs.

Choosing and attaining a meaningful career requires active participation in all phases of the search as well as a sincere commitment to self-reflection.

Download the 4-Year Plan Handout

Select a year:

Academics: Explore the University

Personal: Self-Understanding

  • Develop a support group of friends
  • Take a personality assessment at Career Services
  • Get Rec’d!  Check out the SRWC
  • Do values clarification exercises
  • Explore individual counseling with University Counselors
  • Identify major fears of college life
  • Redefine family relationships
  • Sign up for MyMoney Five during your New Student Orientation session

Social: Initiate Relationships

Career: Explore Career Areas

  • Attend a career workshop – visit Career Services
  • Follow the Career Services Facebook fan page to get updates on all events!
  • Talk with parents, friends, advisors, professors, career counselors
  • Do "career testing" through volunteering
  • Use "What Can I Do With This Major" and FOCUS2 software on Career Services website
  • Attend Activities and Majors Fair
  • Identify your transferable skills and abilities
  • Develop career-related hobbies


Academics: Gain Specific Information

  • Seek academic advice from professors and peers
  • Grab lunch with one of your professors
  • Establish a personal GPA goal
  • Choose an academic major
  • Develop a tentative academic plan
  • Choose electives that match your needs/interests
  • Explore Study Abroad

Personal: Explore New Roles

Social: Increase Involvement

  • Become actively involved in a club/organization, maybe one associated with your possible major
  • Volunteer on student committees
  • Volunteer in the community
  • Join Intramural Teams at the SRWC
  • Attend University-wide events, lectures, and performances

Career: Collect More Information

  • Read about Careers in the Library and online via FOCUS2 and O*Net
  • Conduct an informational interview with someone in your area of interest
  • Develop your short term goals for gaining experience and skills
  • Look for a summer internship
  • Volunteer to “shadow” a professional
  • Talk with Specialists in Career Services about resumes and internships
  • Attend career presentations and fairs to gather information and seek internships
  • Claim your account on Handshake to start looking for jobs and internships

JUNIOR YEAR – Researching!

Academics: Make Initial Choices

  • Take mock GRE/MCAT or LSAT exams
  • Focus on succeeding in major courses – seek tutoring with the Academic Success Center
  • Relate academics to future life plans
  • Attend departmental seminars/lectures that relate to your major
  • Develop an academic mentor
  • Consider research opportunities
  • Seek out and apply for internships

Personal: Risk Personal Openness

  • Seek out sources of support
  • Help others with their problems
  • Continue discussions with your mentor
  • Test ideas through decision groups
  • Disagree with an authority – but have a solid reason

Social: Exercise New Skills

  • Run for an elected office/get involved in WSGA
  • Apply for Resident Assistant (RA) or peer advisor positions
  • Become a Big Brother/Big Sister
  • Volunteer through Campus Activities Board (CAB)

Career: Increase Experience

  • Find internships that interest you
  • Make tentative career decisions
  • Attend the career and graduate school fairs
  • Stop by Career Services for a Resume Review and to discuss plans and goals
  • Develop general awareness of many career options
  • Familiarize yourself with work settings and job descriptions
  • Have a Mock Interview with Career Services

Academics: Long-Term Decisions

  • Prepare graduate school applications
  • Apply for awards
  • Present projects at scholarly meetings
  • Complete your WTE!
  • Become a tutor
  • Request a senior progress check from Office of Registrar
  • Develop an independent study that is meaningful to you

Personal: Make Commitments

  • Prepare for your chosen lifestyle
  • Attend stress workshops
  • Talk about your first year out of school
  • Make a list of your firm decisions
  • Write down three life-long goals
  • Prior to graduation, complete MyMoney Five modules regarding student loan repayment
  • Consult financial literacy resources as needed
  • Participate in Commencement!

Social: Leadership

  • Lead a group or club
  • Supervise a few student projects
  • Join a professional organization
  • Tutor high school students
  • Assist in facilitation of leadership conferences and workshops

Career: First Career Choice

  • Attend presentations on: job searches, interviewing, and the transition from college life to post-college life
  • Attend career fairs and make connections with recruiters!
  • Establish life goals
  • Develop a contact list of references; use your network to develop leads
  • Check Handshake and apply for jobs/Apply to graduate programs
  • Interview for jobs or grad/professional school admission
  • Develop a budget for graduate school or life after school

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Washburn University prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, age, national origin, ancestry, disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information, veteran status, or marital or parental status. The following person has been designated to handle inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies: Dr. Pamela Foster, Equal Opportunity Director/Title IX Coordinator, Washburn University, 1700 SW College Ave, Topeka, Kansas 66621, 785.670.1509,

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