FOUR YEAR PLAN: A Student’s Guide to Self Awareness and Career Exploration

Year One

  • Orientation and FYE
  • Enroll in CD 100: Career and Self Awareness to identify a path that’s right for you!
  • Get involved on campus! Join a student organization, volunteer, and/or get a job on campus
  • Participate in career events (recommended for all years!)

Year Two

  • Secure an internship, job, or student research position
  • Study away or participate in an off-campus program
  • Leadership development
  • Discuss career goals and plans with a faculty advisor

Year Three

  • Meet with a career services staff member to formulate your job or graduate school timeline and plans
  • Research graduate/professional school options
  • Make connections! Participate in career fairs and career related events and network with alumni

Year Four and Beyond

  • Enroll in CD 401: Decision Making and Implementation to set goals and finalize post-college plans!
  • Expand your professional network and your professional skills through career events
  • Develop your experience through an internship, job or research opportunity


GEN 110: Career and Self Awareness

Designed for students just starting their academic journey, this one-credit course assists you in understanding how your personal strengths and values help with career goals to develop a balanced and values-affirming lifestyle. Students will also get a head start on designing a resume, writing cover letters, and learning valuable interview skills.

GEN 210: Life and Career Planning

This course is specifically designed for students who want a theoretical and practical study of the career planning process applied to their interests, abilities, goals, academic discipline, and fields of interest. Focus is on self- assessment, development of a career and life plan, and creation of a resume, cover letter, and portfolio. Students will participate in a job shadow experience and become familiar with current employment trends and organizational environments.

GEN 310: Generation Swap Mentoring Program

Lifelong learning through mentoring and podcasting is a springboard for building career ready skills based on readings, lectures, class discussions, and mentorship with the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute Program.

GEN 410: Decision Making and Implementation

Thinking of life beyond Aquinas and wondering how to navigate a post-college world? GEN 410 is designed to help students make the transition from college to the world beyond, whether that be in a job, service, self-employment, or graduate school! Launch your future with this essential one-credit, quad format course that focuses on life after Aquinas.

Beyond the Classroom: Experiential Learning

There are plenty of ways students can gain real-world experience, such as internships and student research!

An internship enables you to gain first-hand exposure of working in the real world.  If you are searching for an internship, or you have found one and want more information on how to receive credit,  make an appointment on Handshake. Click on Career Center, then Appointments, then Request a new appointment.

For details on how to request your internship for credit, the Internship Seminar, or a link to the supervisor handbook, click here.

Doing an internship? We’d love to feature you on our social media. Fill out this form to be considered for a student spotlight.

Visit Internships for the most up-to-date information.

We recognize the importance of stimulating intellectual curiosity in all disciplines and seek to:

  • Extend the opportunity to participate in research/creative activities to all students.
  • Encourage and promote student-faculty collaboration across all disciplines.
  • Foster dissemination of this work.
  • Find resources for increased opportunities.

Visit Student Research for the most up-to-date information.

Resources for Students

For a complete list of our resources, visit our Resources page!

Nelson’s Bowtie

Do you have an interview, job shadow, first day of work, or any other event you need professional dress clothes? Nelson’s Bowtie, is a no cost student run store where AQ students can take professional clothing for any event! From our generous donations, this experience makes the clothes FREE for students to take and keep!

Visit us @ Flannery Hall or check out our Instagram @nelsonsbowtie as well as our website to see what we have in our inventory and make an appointment with us today!


Handshake is the place where students, career centers, and recruiters come to meet, talk, and share opportunities, such as jobs or internships, or upcoming career fairs and events.

PathwayU Assessment

Discover your joy, meaning and purpose! Create your free PathwayU account by clicking the button below.

  • Complete the 4 assessments (Interests, Values, Personality, and Workplace Preferences), which should take about 15-20 minutes.
  • Explore majors and career paths that align with your personalized results.
  • Connect to local and global job and internship opportunities that resonate with your passion.
  • Still have questions? Make an appointment to follow up on your results with a staff member from the Career Center.

AQ Advantage Career Guide

Aquinas’ Career Guide contains carefully curated resources and information to assist you in your career journey. Schedule an appointment with a career coach to explore each area further.

Graduate School Quick Tips

Below are some of our quick tips on applying to graduate schools! For more information, check out our Career Guide and the Graduate Guide resource.

Self-Reflection and Research

Before beginning the application process, it’s crucial to take a moment to think about your future goals!

Reflect: Why do you want to attend graduate school? What are you hoping to accomplish during your time?

Discuss: Talk with your faculty advisor and with a career services member about your goals for insights and input.

Research: Find programs of interest and evaluate their requirements, opportunities, financial support options, location, etc.

Graduate School Prep Timeline

Freshman/Sophomore Years

  • Focus on your studies
  • Participate in research
  • Begin developing relationships with faculty members who may write recommendations in the future

Junior Year

  • Prepare for and take the GRE
  • Continue to focus on your studies and participate in research
  • Identify graduate fellowships in your field
  • Start exploring graduate schools

Senior Year


  • Check out application requirements for graduate schools and fellowships
  • Begin work on your personal statement/research statement


  • Apply for application fee waivers
  • Contact faculty members for recommendations


  • Complete grad school applications
  • Complete fellowship applications
  • Prepare for and take the appropriate standardized tests


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Contact & Location

(616) 632-2126

Mother Victor Flannery Hall

Aquinas College
Advantage Center
1700 Fulton St. E.
Grand Rapids, MI 49506-1799

Career Service Hours

Monday 9:00am - 5:00pm
Tuesday 9:00am - 5:00pm
Wednesday 9:00am - 5:00pm
Thursday 9:00am - 5:00pm
Friday 9:00am - 5:00pm