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Student Personal Development

The College of Agricultural and Life Sciences hopes to produce society-ready graduates by preparing students for their career goals both inside and outside the classroom. The following professional development activities are recommended by the CALS Dean’s Office for individual preparation as it pertains to academics, campus/community, career and self-assessment. Keep in mind that many activities may need to be repeated in subsequent years.

 

  • Freshman Year
      • Participate in New Student Convocation and consider taking First Year Florida.
      • Establish healthy relationships with faculty members, academic advisers, staff, administrators and peers.
      • Set a GPA goal each semester and strive to reach it.
      • Determine how you study best and develop an environment that allows for optimal learning and productivity.
      • Develop your communication skills, both oral and written, as well as skills in time management and goal setting; learn email etiquette.
      • Read your email from the CALS Dean’s Office and your academic adviser; follow CALS on Facebook and/or Twitter to stay up-to-date about opportunities.
      • Attend CALS Kickoff to learn more about opportunities to get involved; identify student organizations or volunteer activities that will help you explore interests and gain experience.
      • Attend TailGATOR to network with CALS alumni and peers.
      • Write a resume and have it reviewed; use the review to identify areas that you need to further develop.
      • Learn how to write a cover letter.
      • Create an account on Gator CareerLink and upload your resume.
      • Explore research opportunities (volunteer or paid) with faculty members in your area of interest.
      • Begin a file of appealing job descriptions to see what skills, knowledge and abilities employers are looking for.
      • Obtain relevant work experience through internships, co-ops, volunteer work, part-time jobs, and/or summer/seasonal jobs.
      • Apply for college-wide or major-specific scholarships for the following academic year.
      • Attend at least one career fair to gather information on potential careers/employers.
      • Set a career or professional goal for your future, but be flexible.
  • Sophomore Year
      • Meet with your adviser to discuss your academic and career goals and strategies for progress toward those goals.
      • Select elective courses that will broaden your academic foundation and expand your employment opportunities; consider adding a minor.
      • Consider how studying abroad might fit into your academic plan.
      • Update your resume.
      • Build a profile on LinkedIn and join the CALS LinkedIn group.
      • Review social media accounts to make sure content is appropriate for a young professional; Google yourself.
      • Thoroughly research the employers or professional/graduate schools that are of interest to you; know the training needed, expected salary range and possible locations for your desired career.
      • Attend at least one CALS Solutions Seminar to broaden your understanding of issues related to agricultural and life sciences and develop soft skills necessary for future employment.
      • Hold a leadership position in a campus organization to develop skills that employers find important such as communication, decision making, self-management, teamwork, professionalism and leadership.
      • Participate in community service.
      • Consider applying for the CALS Leadership Institute or to be a CALS Ambassador.
      • Identify 3-5 individuals who would serve as professional references (faculty members, advisers, past or current employers); meet with these individuals each semester to keep them up-to-date on your experiences and career goals.
      • Participate in one or more events that expose you to people with significantly different backgrounds/beliefs.
  • Junior Year
      • Enroll in a leadership development course.
      • Clarify your career goals. Outline a job or graduate/professional school search strategy.
      • Identify a mentor within your career interest area.
      • Develop and one-minute introduction focused on your top three strengths.
      • Polish your resume, cover letter and interviewing skills; participate in a mock interview.
      • Purchase appropriate business attire and a nice padfolio for career fairs and interviews.
      • Seek an internship, co-op, part-time or summer position to gain experience relevant to your intended career path.
      • Prepare for and take the required entrance exam for graduate/professional school.
      • Attend workshops offered by the Career Resource Center or Center for Leadership and Service.
      • If eligible, participate in the CALS Upper-Division Honors Program.
      • Attend professional meetings and conferences.
      • Start reading the news on a regular basis; this could be a newspaper, an app on your phone or a subscription available on campus.
      • Could your class, club or work environment be better? Propose a solution to an issue and follow through.
      • Apply for the E. T. York Medal of Excellence Award (Outstanding CALS Junior).
  • Senior Year
      • Be sure you are on target for graduation.
      • Develop a specific strategy for job or graduate/professional school search; have goals and track progress.
      • Apply to graduate/professional schools or relevant jobs.
      • Apply for senior awards at the college or university level.
      • Investigate organizations for your future (UF Alumni Association, Kiwanis, Rotary, etc.).

 

 

 

Solutions

Previous topics discussed at Solutions Seminars include Viva Florida 500, a celebration of 500 years of Florida agriculture.