Help Your Cadet

This should be a team effort! Your assistance is greatly appreciated. Please understand that, if a cadet does not choose to use Career Services, it will not be forced upon him/her at VMI. As in all developmental processes, "readiness" is the operative word. A cadet who is not ready to look at career options will probably make poor career decisions, if any.

"It is natural for college students to move toward independent decision-making and away from relying on parental decision-making."

Parents can help cadets move toward readiness and through the career planning process by:

  • encouraging their cadet to think about career fields of interest early and often. This entails having an open mind when your cadet considers careers that might not parallel parental expectations. Your cadet has to find a career field that matches his/her interests, values, skills, and talents in order to experience satisfaction during the majority of his/her waking hours for the next 50 years.
  • familiarizing themselves with the suggested Office of Career Services Four-year Plan for Cadets reminding their cadet about the steps to take each semester.
  • exercising patience when cadets consider changing majors or when they are undecided about their future goals.
  • reminding your cadet regularly to use Career Services. In the hustle and bustle of life at VMI sometimes cadets lose sight of the outside world. It takes time and advance planning, if your cadet needs to find summer employment, study abroad, attempt independent research, or try out different career fields before graduation.
  • providing support while cadets are testing out their career interests. Help your cadet look realistically at each job he/she tries. Help your cadet stretch his/her horizons through internships and study abroad opportunities. looking at your cadet's career options non-judgementally. Let your cadet know that you want to learn more about the career fields that interest him/her. Do some research. Show your interest - share what you have learned in an objective, non-directive manner.
  • stepping back and watching when your cadet chooses to try an internship. Let your cadet experience the job and a sense of independence.
  • consciously planning to reduce your role in your cadet's decisions each year at VMI. Certainly one of the most difficult parts of being a parent is knowing when to let go and let your offspring fly on their own. VMI provides an excellent environment for learning the responsibilities that come with freedom. Part of this develomental process is learning how to earn a living. Parents cannot do this for their children. Better to let them try and fail while in college than to wait and do it after graduation, when there is little or no support system.