Parents & Families
As a parent or family member of a Merrimack College student, you have an impact on your student’s career development. In fact, students often identify their family members as one of the primary sources of career information and support. Please explore our web site, and encourage your student to connect with the O’Brien Center for Student Success early on in their Merrimack career.
Where is the O’Brien Center for Student Success located?
The O’Brien Center is located on the second floor of the Sakowich Campus Center. We provide an array of services to students beginning in their freshman year and continuing through the early years of alumni status. Our hours are 8:30-5:00pm daily and in the evenings by appointment.
When should students get started with career planning?
All students should begin to visit our office their very first semester on campus. This will allow them to make a connection and learn about the office’s resources. Please review the Four Year Plan as a reference when you are talking to your student about their career plans.
My student is not sure what to major in or what s/he can do with the major.
Many students seek out advising on selecting an academic major. The O’Brien Center believes that there are no limits on any career path, however some PATHS take longer than others. The history major who decides in their senior year that she wants to go to medical school has the same opportunity as the person who started as a pre-med major their first year. The difference is in the time it will take the history major to take the pre-requisites which are needed to apply to medical school. Please visit What to do with this Major.
Selecting a major and/or a career takes thought and research and is best completed over many months. Students are encouraged in the beginning of second semester of the first year to begin working with a career counselor to identify the student’s likes and dislikes, a particular major, and/or a career path.
What is the difference between internships and co-op?
A co-op is a full time paid experience which takes the place of classes during the semester or over a six month period. An internship is a part time experience, paid or unpaid, for credit or not for credit which takes places during the summer or during the semester while students are taking classes.
When should students start to look for internships and co-op?
We recommend that students start looking for internships after their first year and definitely after the sophomore year. Co-op’s are usually completed in the junior and senior year of Merrimack after a body of academic knowledge has been gleaned through a major. Please read our Internship and Co-op pages for more information on timelines and programs.
What do Merrimack Students do after they graduate?
A variety of things. Some graduates (approximately 20%) will go immediately to graduate school while most will move directly into the world of work.
What role do family members play and how can I help?
The most important role you can play is to encourage your student to take advantage of the programs and services The O’Brien Center offers and to get started EARLY. For example, seniors who wait until the spring term of their senior year to begin thinking about their job search are already several steps behind their peers at other colleges and universities. Many employers recruit seniors during the fall term, and some even in August and September before the senior year begins! Students who gain relevant work experience in their undergraduate years have an advantage over other students because they have already written a cover letter and resume and been on job interviews.
My company might have an internship, coop or job for a Merrimack student how can I get involved?
As a parent or family member you can become a mentor to students too (sometimes your own children won’t listen but other students will). If your company has an internship, coop or job fit for a Merrimack student, please post the position on Advantage, our in-house database of jobs internships and co-op opportunities for students. Set up an account and post a position on Advantage.
Consider providing housing to a Merrimack student who is doing a summer internship in your city. Other opportunities for you to get involved include participating in career panels, career fairs, or other career events throughout the year.