Center for Career & Professional Development


The Center for Career & Professional Development values parent influence on students to encourage them in their exploration of major, graduate school and occupational options and in their development of lifelong career-related skills. 

The Role of Parents

In addition to encouragement, parents can provide valuable resources to their job- and internship-seeking students in the form of connections with working professionals. Such introductions often make the difference to job seekers in competitive markets.  Parents should note, however, that while behind the scenes help and advice is valuable, active involvement in students’ job searches, such as contacting employers directly, accompanying students to interviews and attempting to conduct salary negotiations directly with employers, will likely create barriers rather than opportunities for job-seeking students, who need to be perceived by employers as competent, independent adults.

The Center for Career & Professional Development values the career coaching model, which produces change and bridges the gap between where you are and where you want to be.  It focuses on strengths, solutions and actions. Some empowering career coaching questions parents can ask students include:

Think of a time you are most energized.  What are you doing?

If a miracle occurred and you could do anything you wanted, what “dream job(s)” have you considered?

If you knew you couldn’t fail, what would you do?

What will happen if you do nothing?

If you were to take one step toward achieving your dream, what would you do?

What have you already started to put in place to get where you want to be?

What could you do in the next 24 hours relative to your goals?

How Does the Center for Career & Professional Development Help Students? 

The Center for Career & Professional Development team encourages all students, from first-year to senior, to get involved with career development, a four-year process which complements students’ academic pursuits. In addition to numerous online and print resources, the Center hosts a wide variety of workshops and events throughout the year to help students develop skills and make contacts. Students can also meet one-on-one with a professional staff member for personalized advising and assistance. In addition, all students interested in internships should meet with the Internship and Employer Development team to set goals, explore options and secure positions. 

About 25-30 percent of SU students typically enter graduate and professional school programs within one year of graduation. The Center for Career & Professional Development provides general guidance and resources to students exploring graduate studies, in addition to the major-specific graduate school advising available through SU faculty. For more information on where our graduates go after graduating from Southwestern, please see our Post-Graduate Survey results we conduct annually.

Students who desire to pursue employment upon graduation can search for jobs and internships through a variety of online options, including SU’s primary online partner, PirateLink. While each semester recruiters come to campus to conduct information tables and on-campus interviews, the most powerful job search strategy for students is networking. The intimacy and personal touch of the SU experience provides important networking opportunities with alumni, parents and other contacts.

Please do not hesitate to call us at (512) 863-1346 if you have additional questions!

What Can I Do to Help Students? 

First and foremost, encourage your student to make time each year to visit the Center for Career & Professional Development. This website is a convenient way to begin exploring from the comfort of a student’s room. Secondly, consider contributing your own expertise to The Center for Career & Professional Development’s efforts.

Serving as a Career “Mentor”

The Center for Career & Professional Development needs assistance from parents to help current students explore a variety of majors and career fields. Serve as a point of contact for your major and/or current occupation, whether you took a direct or indirect route from one to the other. Topics students may want to ask career contacts about include how they chose their career, advice for preparing for careers, resume preparation, realistic idea of entry-level salary, suggestions for professional organizations to join, suggestions for courses to take, daily activities of your job, whether you recommend grad school for your job, etc.

The insight you provide can help shape the career path of SU students. They will most certainly value your real-world experience and be appreciative of any advice you are able to provide. We encourage parents to join PirateConnect, our exclusive online platform for connecting students, alumni, parents, faculty and friends of Southwestern for one-to-one mentorship. In addition, to volunteer with the Center for Career & Professional Development for other activities, described below, please contact us at


Each semester the Center for Career & Professional Development offers numerous workshops featuring professionals from a variety of career fields sharing advice with current students.  If you would consider serving on a panel or making a presentation about your work, employer or career path, please let us know.


Parents can be great contacts for current students and alumni interested in participating in an internship experience. If you and your organization would like to consider sponsoring an SU intern, please click here for more information.

Career Treks

Periodically, the Center for Career & Professional Development  takes students on half-day field trips (“career treks”) to employer worksites for tours, visits with entry-level staff and other job shadowing activities. If you and/or your organization would be interested in hosting a small group of SU students or an individual student, please click here for more information.

On-Campus Recruitment

The Center for Career & Professional Development welcomes parents who are employers or who work for employers interested in recruiting SU students for post-graduate employment. To learn more about recruiting opportunities for employers click here.

Special Rankings and Recognition

The Center for Career & Professional Development  is among the best in the nation. The Princeton Review rated SU 7th in the nation and number one in the state of Texas for Best Career Services. Zippa also rated SU the “Best College for Employment” in Texas.