At Washington and Lee University (W&L), the Career and Professional Development office (CaPD) helps students make the challenging transition between college and their future careers. We offer programs and resources that allow students to understand their interests and skills, make plans for achieving their goals, and find opportunities for internships, employment, and graduate programs. Our office prepares students to succeed in a competitive, ever-changing job market.

Family support plays an important role in your student’s career planning process. Your advice and experiences can significantly impact your student, as well as other Generals. Whether you have questions about how to support your student, or want to learn how you can help other members of the W&L community, we want to hear from you. Contact CaPD at careers@wlu.edu or (540) 458-8595.

Supporting Your Student

During the career development process, family support takes many forms. From helping students with networking to encouraging visits to our office, there are several ways that parents and family members can help their student:

  • Encourage your student to visit CaPD early and often. We offer resources for every stage of the career development process, from career exploration and self-assessments to networking advice and practice interviews. See our Four-Year Plan for suggestions about steps your student can take to prepare for the future.
  • Discuss summer options with your student. An internship is a great way to test out a career interest, gain real-world experience in a particular field, and make connections with future employers. Studying abroad, conducting research, or participating in volunteer experiences are also great ways to explore career interests.
  • Listen to your student when you discuss career plans with them. Keep an open mind to potential majors and career paths that might not immediately make sense to you. Offer your perspective without passing judgment - college is a time for students to explore their interests, and majors do not always dictate career paths. Ask open-ended questions to help students clarify their ideas and concerns.
  • Encourage your student's independence. Although your input is valuable, choosing a major or career path is ultimately your student's decision. As they become more independent, gradually reduce your role in their decision-making.
  • Help your student develop a professional network of contacts who they can turn to for information, advice, and potentially a future job (70% of positions are filled through networking). Refer your student to family members, friends, and coworkers who have experience related to their interests. These contacts do not have to have a position open at their company; all information and advice is helpful in the career exploration and job search phases. Moreover, contacts may know someone with opportunities for your student.

Supporting Current Generals

As a Washington and Lee family member, you can be an important career resource for students and alumni. Here are some ways to help the W&L community:

  • Encourage your employer to hire a General. Scheduling on-campus information sessions and interviews with students is an effective way to recruit W&L talent. Contact the CaPD office at careers@wlu.edu or (540) 458-8595 to learn more.
  • Forward job or internship opportunities to Career and Professional Development at careers@wlu.edu. Employers can also create an account in Handshake, W&L’s internal job board, to directly post positions.