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Posted by Ghani on November 28, 2020
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On August 6th, NBEF hosted a College & Career Readiness Event themed “Engagement in the age of COVID-19” that included conversations, guidance and tools on how students can tap into the virtual programs of Colleges and Universities that provide academic, social-emotional and career support (meaning special COVID-19 related resources and services that are available to college students).

The event was led by young professionals who are New Brunswick High School and New Brunswick Health Sciences Technology High School alum and are a part of NBEF’s College & Young Professional Network and was attended on ZOOM by over 70 students (including rising college freshmen and upperclassmen).

College and Career Readiness Workshop

The following takeaways were derived from NBEF’s Virtual College and Career Readiness Workshop (held on August 6th) via zoom:

Academic: Tools for “A” Successful Semester

  1. Find your department/major/program on your college’s website. Access and follow your curriculum sheet with your academic advisor. Get your professors’ and academic advisor’s email addresses, and schedule virtual office hours for the purpose of introducing yourself, discussing expectations, and maintaining an open door for communication about the progress you’re making in their courses.
  2. Go to your college’s learning management systems website (i.e. Blackboard, Canvas, Moodle, etc.) to access your classes.  Log in daily.
  3. Create a study schedule that equals a full time job (35-40 hours a week).  Example: Jane College Student.
  4. Make use of your college’s academic support centers/services such as the Writing Center, Library, Office of Disabilities, Tutoring Services, Math and Science Labs, etc.
  5. Connect with classmates in your major or similar career areas.  Networking with classmates may help you gain a keener insight on coursework, obtain referrals for professors/courses within in your major/career track, and even establish a group you can study with, as well as explore opportunities to expand your horizons.

Career: COVID-19 – Now What?

  1. Find your college’s career development office webpage.  Follow the webpage to receive text alerts or emails, as well as social media posts about events such as virtual and remote career fairs, as well as free webinars about resume and cover letter writing to submit via platforms such as LinkedIn or Handshake.
  2. Find your career advisor’s email address or point of contact.  Find out when his/her virtual office hours are offered and utilize them — come prepared with questions about interview skills for virtual/remote interviews as well as resume and cover letter writing to submit to portals (i.e. Handshake or LinkedIn).
  3. Attend virtual career fairs, webinars and networking events that are administered by your college as well as career fairs that are facilitated by potential virtual internship and externship representatives.
  4. Connect with classmates in group chats who have similar majors or career goals.
  5. Prepare your virtual career development plan, career development team, and elevator pitch.

Social/Emotional: Finding Your Tribe

  1. Get familiar with your college’s student affairs webpage where information about student organizations, fraternities and sororities, faith-based organizations, student chapters of academic major associations, i.e. Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers; National Association of Social Workers, etc. You will be able to expand your network with upperclassmen who can help you navigate your major/career development.
  2. Seek out academic and social organizations on your campus to connect with or even to consider joining. These organizations are more than just a means by which to socialize.  They are also a way to participate in conference presentations, volunteering, and meeting people with like interests.
  3. Actively seek virtual/remote resources on your campus for help (as needed) such as the Office of Student Disabilities, The Writing Center, the Counseling and Self Development Center, or the Tutoring Center.
  4. Get involved and stay engaged through student networks virtually and remotely: Educational Opportunity Fund, TRIO Student Support Services, fraternities, sororities, social clubs, and academic groups.
  5. Stay in contact with your professors and advisors via email, text and calls, as well as your larger network inclusive of: family, mentors, NBEF, and other organizations that have provided you with guidance and overall support.

This event was facilitated by former NBEF scholarship recipients and members of our College & Young Professional Network: Rossie La Torre Torres – NBHS 2013 (Senior Resources Assistant, Amazon); Edson Martinez, MSW, LSW – NBHS 2011 (Medical Social Worker, Hoboken University Medical Center); and Jessica Varela, MBA – NBHSHTS 2007 (Program Coordinator, Nurture thru Nature of Rutgers University).

Rossie La Torre Torres
Edson Martinez
Jessica Varela