For Parents & Families

As parents and family members of a UW–Madison student, there are many ways you can encourage and support your student as they make decisions and move through their academic and career journey.

Is your student in their first year at UW–Madison? View the Career Services presentation shared during SOAR.

Learn about: Your Student’s Career Journey | Career Services at UW–Madison | How to Support Your Student

Your Student’s Career Journey

For many students, their career journey will look more like a cycle rather than a straightforward path, and this is not something to be worried about. Now is a great time for your student to assess, explore, prepare, and gain experience – all while taking time to reflect.

Wherever your student is right now in their journey is right where they’re meant to be.

Analyze your interests, values, and skills. Consider your identities and personality. What’s important to you?

Your Student's Career Journey. Assess, explore, prepare, experience. Reflect.

Investigate career paths and/or majors of interest. Evaluate your options and begin to narrow in.

Your Student's Career Journey. Assess, explore, prepare, experience. Reflect.

Practice interviewing, prepare a resume, draft a cover letter, use available campus resources, set goals for yourself.

Your Student's Career Journey. Assess, explore, prepare, experience. Reflect.

Obtain experience through internships, part-time jobs, or volunteer opportunities.

Your Student's Career Journey. Assess, explore, prepare, experience. Reflect.

Career Services at UW–Madison

The goal of Career Services is to prepare students to navigate their career journey and help them find success during and beyond their time at UW–Madison.

Career advisors are available to meet with your student through one-on-one advising, drop-in advising sessions, group advising sessions, and a variety of career events.

Your student may meet with a career advisor to:

  • Explore career and major options
  • Discuss values, skills, and interests
  • Receive help with resumes and cover letters
  • Search for jobs and internships
  • Connect with alumni and employers
  • Prepare and practice for interviews 
  • Get assistance applying to graduate school
  • Gain advice on negotiating offers

Learn more about how to find a Career Services office

How to Support Your Student

  • Keep an open mind and be willing to listen.
  • Let them know that now is a great time to explore academic and career options and that are not alone in this process.
  • Encourage them to engagement with a career services office.
  • Emphasize the benefits of outside-the-classroom experiences.
  • Help them learn to be okay with some uncertainty.

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How does my student find their career services office?

Each school or college at UW-Madison has a career services office to support their students and employers.

There are also several career services offices available to meet with any student looking to explore their academic and career goals.

Find a career services office here

When should my student seek out career advising?

It is never too early or too late for your student to visit a career advisor or attend career programs and events!

Career advisors are here to support your student at every step in their career journey and can help with things like:

  • Career and major exploration
  • Discussing values, skills, and interests
  • Resume assistance
  • Cover letters
  • Job and internship searches
  • Networking
  • Connecting with alumni and employers
  • Interview guidance
  • Applying to graduate school
  • Negotiating offers

Besides advising, how else can my student engage with their career center?

Besides career advising, career services offices offer a variety of programs and opportunities for students to explore career options, meet employers and alumni, and develop professionally. This includes:

  • Career and internship fairs
  • Career-related courses
  • Online resources and tools
  • Workshops and career events
  • Workplace experience opportunities
  • Employer and alumni events

If my student is feeling overwhelmed with their career choices, what advice can I provide them?

This is a very common feeling students express when making decisions about their future. We recommend normalizing this feeling and letting them know they are not alone or behind in their career planning. Listen, ask questions, and encourage your student to visit the Career Exploration Center or their school/college’s career services office for additional support and guidance.

How important is it that my student completes an internship?

Internships and other workplace experiences (co-ops, student teaching, practica, clinicals, research, etc.) are a great opportunity for students to explore careers, apply their coursework to a professional setting, develop skills, expand their networks, and potentially get job offers.

From the employer’s perspective, internship experience (and similar workplace experiences) is often the deciding factor when employers are evaluating two otherwise qualified candidates (National Association of Colleges and Employers). We are proud to report that 100% of UW-Madison students complete an internship, volunteer role, and/or work while attending college (First Destination Survey).

Can students do internships abroad?

Absolutely! We recommend that your student work with the International Internships office if they are interested in exploring international opportunities.

Where do UW-Madison undergraduate students typically work after graduation? What if my student is interested in working outside of Wisconsin?

UW-Madison graduates are highly sought after around the world! In the past 5 years, UW-Madison graduates reported employment in:

  • 59 of Wisconsin’s 72 counties 
  • 61 countries 
  • 54 states/territories 

Common industries graduates seek include:

  • Healthcare
  • Internet & Software
  • Research
  • Insurance 
  • Higher Education 
  • Manufacturing 
  • Financial Services 
  • Management Consulting 
  • K-12 Education
  • Government 

Common employers who hire UW-Madison grads include: 

  • Epic Systems 
  • Kohl’s 
  • UW Health 
  • State of Wisconsin
  • Deloitte
  • Amazon 
  • Madison Metropolitan School District 
  • Target 
  • Milwaukee Tool
  • AmeriCorps 

About 20% of students seek graduate school and other continuing education opportunities. Common graduate schools include:

  • University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • University of Minnesota
  • Marquette University 
  • Columbia University 
  • University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
  • Northwestern University