Become a Stonehill Career Mentor

Parents are invited to share career guidance and advice with students and Stonehill alumni through the Career Mentor Database in Stonehill Connect. By sharing your experiences and expertise you can greatly help young people to enter the world of work.




The biggest fallacy that we hear is that what you major in determines what your career will be. In fact, people often end up with careers that are not directly connected to their course of study.

We urge students to select a major that interests them and one in which they thrive, rather than a major that they think will get them a job. Often, a student’s academic and co-curricular success, rather than a specific major, will impress employers. There are certainly exceptions. If you want to be an Accountant, you should major in accounting!


Even before students go to college, they encounter many pressures to answer this question: “So what are you going to do after you graduate?” For most students, it’s o.k. to remain undecided when arriving at Stonehill. Students often don’t know where their talents and interests lie and they can explore different options during the first two years.


Many parents want their student not only to have a job, but also to have a job with a high starting salary.

It is, of course, reasonable for a parent to expect their student to be self-supporting, but it probably isn't wise for a parent to define what that support will be.

Many of our students are initially drawn to careers in the service sector that don’t pay as highly as their parents' jobs do. Also, there are many fields – such as advertising, media, or public relations—in which young people are expected to work at a lower starting salary and to “pay one's dues” for a few years before realizing a higher salary.

Sometimes friends, family and even other students pressure liberal arts students because they don't understand the relationship between liberal arts and careers.

The fact that a student is not preparing for a specific job does not mean that the student isn't prepared or qualified for a good job. Our liberal arts graduates excel in demonstrating the transferable skills that employers are looking for in an employee. They do very well in the job market. The Career Development Center can help students make connections between their skills and talents and potential career options.


The Reality

First, remember that the vast majority of our students find excellent jobs after they leave Stonehill and have very satisfying careers.

  • In any given year, about half of our students have either a job, admission to a graduate school, or placement with a post-graduate service program by the time they graduate from Stonehill.
  • By the following year, at least 96% of our students will have found a placement.

In a few short years your student is going to acquire credentials that will appeal to an employer, graduate school or service program. Stonehill students possess a great reputation with employers. As one employer told us:

“Stonehill students show incredible maturity. They take the job search process seriously and make good choices. We retain a huge percentage of Stonehill alumni and that is why we keep coming back to recruit.”

What are Employers Looking For?

Internships, international study, campus activities, service experiences, foreign languages, and summer jobs are an extremely important part of a student’s portfolio. These opportunities can demonstrate important qualities of leadership, as well as practical experience.

So much of today's workplace involves all types of communication: working on teams, giving presentations, writing, and speaking in public and on the phone. Good communication skills are always in demand.


Technical skills are important. Some employers are concerned that a student can use standard applications (such as PowerPoint or spreadsheets), while others may require more specific abilities.

Employers typically are more interested in the “why” rather than the “what.”


An employer in a technical field may be very interested in hearing about an art history course that grew out of an interest developed during a student’s semester overseas. A technical course taken merely to fulfill a requirement may impress the same employer much less.


When Should a Parent Worry?

It is normal for students to be unsure about career opportunities. Parents should not pressure students into premature decisions. It is a concern, however, if the student does not seem to be thinking about careers at all. There should be some kind of forward motion, leading from exploration and testing in the first three years to concrete planning as a senior.

Students make a lot of choices in their college years. It is important for parents to respect those choices and to support their student. As we have said, the student will be working, so it is critical for the student to choose a career path that they will find fulfilling. However, students sometimes appear to be making choices for no apparent reason or for superficial reasons. This is most obvious in the selection of courses.

Students may take courses that surprise the parent, but that interest the student. What is disturbing is when the student seems to choose courses for no apparent reason or because the course is scheduled at a convenient time or the teacher is rumored to be an easy grader.

Likewise, summer employment can vary from internships to babysitting; often the reasons why they are choosing the employment can be equally important as what the student is doing. Employers are looking for choices that make sense for the student and the future career path.