The Career Center provides resources and services to assist students in making career decisions. Students should start investigating the services and facilities of the Career Center by the junior year or earlier.
The Career Center offers a variety of opportunities for experience through summer internships, the Local Internship Program, and community service. These opportunities are further discussed under Exploration.
Career planning begins with gathering and organizing information about yourself. The Career Center office provides opportunities to examine these areas. The Career Library contains publications such as: What Color is Your Parachute? by Bolles and The Complete Job-Search Handbook by Figler. Also available is SIGI PLUS, a comprehensive computerized career guidance system that teaches (in about one hour) thoughtful decision-making and provides individual career guidance.
Another recommendation is completion of a "Self-Assessment Profile," composed of written exercises, that will help you determine your interests, skills, values and lifestyle preferences. Under the counselor's guidance, vocational assessment inventories such as the Strong-Campbell Interest Inventory can be administered to help students identify interests and preferences as a foundation to their career decision-making.
Internships are practical "work/learning" experiences that can offer you the opportunity to:
- Explore a career field or profession of interest
- Gain exposure to a professional environment
- Develop self-reliance and improve your ability to learn in a self-directed manner
Internships are usually short term (a few weeks to a semester) professional-level positions in a variety of fields and locations that offer you a chance to apply classroom theory to the real world. Internships allow students to develop leadership, gain a practical understanding of specific disciplines or professions, and contribute to the community. Some offer modest but useful compensation; many are purely voluntary in nature.
General resources include the internship coordinator of the Career Center, national directories located in the Career Library, announcement books (a collection of available internship programs) and Databank (a computer program for searching internships).
You might be able to earn psychology credit for off-campus volunteer work. This involves finding a faculty member willing to supervise you in psychology 498 (internship). The course can be added by permission of the departmental chair. Course credit is based on the evaluation of a site supervisor, a work journal, and a course paper related to the experience.
The Shared Experience Internship Program is offered through the Career Center. This program of local internships allows you to participate in an on-site learning program during the academic year. All Shared Experience internships are volunteer positions and require approximately ten hours per week for a semester. Interns must first participate in a competitive selection process at the beginning of each semester. Recent examples of Shared Experience positions include: studying the abilities of Alzheimer's patients, special activities assistant at Eastern State Hospital, intern counselor at Charter Colonial Institute, and activities assistant at Crossroads Community Youth Home. Many of the Shared Experience interns are psychology concentrators.
Each spring, the Career Center coordinates the application process for dozens of internship sponsors who wish to recruit quality applicants from William and Mary. Student resumes are collected and sent to the sponsors for consideration. Some sponsors even visit the campus to conduct personal interviews of selected candidates. Specific programs of interest include: Wediko Children's Services (Clinical Intern), American Association for World Health (Public Educator), Select Temporary Services (Personnel Intern), and Camp Hanover (Cabin Counselor).
Student may gain experience through various opportunities for community engagement. The Office of Community Engagement offers several ways to be involved in our local and global community, ranging from tutoring and mentoring in local schools, anti-poverty and other service projects with area nonprofits, and alternative break trips in Virginia and around the world. Students may also sign up for the volunteer listserv and visit the Local Agency Directory to set up their own opportunities.
Student organizations, ranging from those focused on community service, to religious organizations and social fraternities and sororities, also provide diverse ways for students to get involved in various outreach efforts.
Psychology Courses Providing Practical Experience
Your choice of work is one of the more important decisions that you will make and therefore deserves a good deal of thought, time, and energy. Resources are available at the Career Center.