BYU’s campus fairs offer tools to succeed

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Companies like Microsoft come to BYU to answer students' questions about working for a large company and give them information on entry level jobs available after graduation. (Samantha Williams)
Companies like Microsoft come to BYU to answer students’ questions about working for a large company and give them information on entry-level jobs available after graduation. (Samantha Williams)

The BYU campus has many resources to help students get the most out of college. It hosts several yearly fairs like the Study Abroad Fair, the Career Fair on Oct. 2 and the Major Fair on Oct. 15.

Major Fair
BYU has 172 majors and 107 minors for undergraduates, and all will be represented at the Major Fair on Wednesday, Oct. 15, from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. in the Wilkinson Student Center Ballroom.

“It’s just a relaxed setting that students can gather information about majors, do a lot of good research and make informed decisions about majors across campus,” said Jeff Buell, an adviser in the University Advisement Center.

The Major Fair is a great place for undeclared students to research program ideas and for declared students to explore options because being declared is not the same as being decided. Only 17 percent of students who come to BYU declared in a major end up graduating in that program, according to Karen Evens, director of the University Advisement Center.

“Oftentimes students think they are decided,” Evans said. “But they don’t know about the 172 majors. They only know about a dozen majors.”

Evans explained that students often feel overwhelmed choosing a major and feel like it’s like picking one flavor of ice cream to eat for the rest of their life.

“Some of these students just feel like once they’ve chosen a major that all the other possibilities are closed off to them,” Evans said. “If you major in accounting it means that you can be an accountant, but you can also be a lot of other things.”

Evans said students have to be realistic. Making a decision as soon as possible will allow them to focus their education, but a major isn’t the only thing employers will look at. Work and volunteer experiences, internships and learned skills make graduates employable.

Students who are unable to attend the fair are encouraged to stop by the advisement center, in 2500 WSC, to talk to an adviser about major choices. Career interest tests are available to all students, as well as student development classes specifically for exploring majors.

“That’s what we do. We help students choose majors and careers,” Evans said.

For students who are still nervous about making the decision, Evans had some encouraging words. “Students say they don’t want to make a wrong choice. Maybe there isn’t a wrong choice. Maybe there are just many right choices.”

Study Abroad Fair
The Study Abroad Fair, held in September, showcases all of BYU’s international programs through the Kennedy Center.

“In the Kennedy Center we think that every student should have an international experience, an academic international experience. Just because they can be so influential and so beneficial,” said Kelly Blazian, an event coordinator for the Kennedy Center and BYU grad.

Blazian went on a study abroad herself, to Madrid in spring 2010, and her experience broadened her perspective of both Spanish culture and her own.

“They do a lot of things differently, things that maybe I hadn’t even thought of in my own life or as an American, but by encountering those differences in Spain, I was like, ‘Oh! There are other ways to do that,’” Blazian said.

Her experience not only impacted her perspectives but influenced her decision to minor in Spanish and prepared her to teach English with her husband in Spain for a year.

The Kennedy Center website has information, including application deadlines, for each international program for those who missed the fair. The International Study Programs office also has fliers on every program available this upcoming year. Students walking around campus with an International Studies backpack are also good resources.

Career Fair
University Career Services will host the Career Fair Thursday, Oct. 2, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Wilkinson Student Center Ballroom.

The goal of University Career Services is to assist students and alumni in their search for jobs. The Career Fair is one of the main things they do to achieve that.

“The purpose of this fair is to bring upstanding employers to our campus in order to meet with, get to know and ultimately recruit out students for potential jobs,” said Hayley Aiono, the Career Fair coordinator.

About 150 companies will attend, making it the largest career fair in the last five years. Students from every class year and major are invited and encouraged to take advantage of the opportunity.

The fair will be an extension of BYU Bridge, the new online job and internship placement program for students created by University Career Services. The website posts job listings, internship opportunities and networking events. Employers attending the fair are given access to students’ résumés and profiles when students RSVP to the event.

To get the most out of the Career Fair students are encouraged to be prepared. They should dress appropriately (business attire strongly suggested), have copies of résumés ready, research what companies will be there and have pertinent questions ready for employers of interest. Career Services said one of the biggest critique of BYU students is that they come with little to no information on a company.

Career Services has several resources to help students get ready including career counselors, résumé reviews, cover letter pointers, interview techniques and networking tips. Preregister at bridge.byu.edu to avoid lines the day of the event.

BYU also offers the STEM Career Fair, Graduate School Fair, Law School Fair and Utah Teacher Fair.

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