Human Ecology provides a strong liberal arts foundation that supports career-specific preparation in a small-college environment with the resources and benefits of an Ivy League institution. Professional counselors help students identify their interests and strengths through academic coursework, experiential learning, and professional opportunities.
Exploring careers is an on-going process. As students engage in courses and experiences, their aspirations change and develop. Professional career counselors are ready to walk them through the process, and peer advisors can help them access a wealth of college and university resources.
Make an appointment to meet with a professional career counselor in the Office of Student and Career Development, 172 MVR. Hours are Monday-Thursday 9:00 am – 4:30 pm; Friday 9:00 am – 4:00 pm in MVR 172. Stop in or call (607) 255-2532.
Counselors help students understand the connection between their academic life and personal career goals, and assist them in identifying valuable resources. It is most helpful to speak with a counselor early in one’s academic career.
Career counselors also help students prepare for graduate or professional school; develop personal statements; search for experiential learning opportunities including externships and internships; and develop job search strategies, such as job interviewing and marketing a Human Ecology education to employers.
Career assessment tools can systematically guide you in assessing interests, values, and abilities.
The Cornell Career Guide is an exceptional resource containing comprehensive career-related information, from the initial stages of career exploration to the negotiation of job offers. Copies are available in the Human Ecology Career Exploration Center.
The Career Exploration Guide is an excellent workbook to help you explore your interests, skills, strengths, values, and career options. Copies are available in the Human Ecology Career Exploration Center.
Human Ecology's Career Exploration Center provides a friendly environment for students to explore and pursue their career goals with the help of trained student career assistants. All students are welcomed to come anytime during opening hours to receive a walk-in resume critique, explore the different off-campus academic opportunities, read a book from our rich library collection, or take advantage of the numerous other services.
Check out the Career Exploration Center (CEC) Site!
Hours: 10:00am - 4:00pm (Monday - Thursday) 10:00am - 2:00pm (Friday)
Location: 162 MVR
There are certain tools and skills that are essential to your career exploration and job search. Career counselors in Human Ecology provide individual counseling appointments and comprehensive, interactive workshops. Stop by the office in 172 MVR to schedule an appointment or contact our office at 607/255-2532. Check the Human Ecology calendar for time, date, and location of workshops.
Create a Powerful Resume
- An effective resume is essential, whether you are seeking an internship, summer job, volunteer work, or permanent position. It will also be required for admission to many graduate programs.
- Most resumes should be limited to one page and contain concise summaries of your education, relevant coursework, experiences, and skills. Easy-to-read formats and error-free texts are critical.
- Prepare a draft by using the counseling and library resources in Human Ecology's Career Exploration Center. Refer to resume information and examples in the Cornell Career Services Career Guide. Copies are available in the CEC.
- Resumes can be critiqued by a career peer assistant in the CEC on a drop-in basis.
- For further assistance, schedule an appointment with a professional career counselor in the Career Development Office, (607) 255-2532.
Write an Effective Cover Letter
- Cover letters should always accompany resumes unless otherwise indicated. They introduce you to the prospective employer and help target your resume for the position desired.
- Some cover letters are written for specific job openings, while others are used to explore employment opportunities in an organization.
- Cover letters should be concise and error-free.
- Check the Cornell Career Services Career Guide. Copies are available in the CEC, 162 MVR.
Visit the Cornell Career Services website for more information.
Interviewing practice is essential prior to your actual interview, whether it is for a job, internship, or graduate school.
Human Ecology counselors offer interview workshops every academic semester. We will guide you through the process and provide important tips and strategies for effective verbal communication. (check the Human Ecology calendar)
Mock interviews are offered in the Human Ecology Career Exploration Center, 162 MVR. You must sign up two days prior to your practice interview. Career Assistants will present questions relevant to the type of employment you are seeking, and will critique your responses and overall interview style. Videotaped sessions are available if you desire visual feedback.
Before your actual employer interview, make sure you:
- research the organization carefully
- have a list of questions ready
- are prepared to give examples of situations where you showed initiative, leadership, and/or teamwork
- are prepared to talk about your problem solving skills, adaptability to new environments, ability to relate to diverse populations, knowledge of their company and industry, and enthusiasm for the position. You can use past job, volunteer, or classroom experiences to demonstrate your skills.
- Arrive at the interview at least 15 minutes before your scheduled appointment time and bring a copy of your current resume and other relevant materials, such as writing samples or portfolios. Dress appropriately.
Visit Cornell Career Services for more information.
Networking continues to be the most effective way of finding a job or internship, and of advancing your professional career. Most Cornell students cite networking as their primary method of obtaining a job. It is reported that 80% of jobs and 90% of summer internships are never advertised. Most employers prefer informal methods of identifying employees and circulating information about available positions.
Cornell Handshake Mentors
Cornell Handshake Mentors, Cornell's web-based database, accessible through Cornell Handshake, consists of over 3,000 alumni, parents, and other friends of Cornell who are interested in offering career advice and insight from personal experience. Etiquette in using this network is similar to that used for AlumNet.
Cornell Career Services also helps you make alumni contacts through:
Visit Cornell Career Services for more information.
Informational interviews are an excellent way to explore career fields or organizations of interest to you. For the most part, people enjoy talking about themselves to an enthusiastic listener.
Alumni from the Cornell Handshake databases have volunteered to speak with students and are valuable resources for informational interviews. It is not permissible however, to use these resources as job banks.
Be prepared before your start your interview. Decide what you hope to learn. You are creating a relationship so remember to listen well and engage your contact in a friendly manner. Always follow up with a thank you message.
The following questions, taken from the Cornell Career Services Career Guide offer helpful suggestions, but modify your interview to suit your needs.
Suggested Questions for Informational Interviews
- How did you decide to enter this field?
- What do you like most about your work? Least?
- What education or training is necessary for this type of work?
- Do you have an advanced degree? Is one required in this field?
- Is the field changing? In what ways?
- What are the greatest challenges you face in the job/organization?
- Are internships, volunteering, or other experiences helpful to getting a job in this field?
- What are the entry-level opportunities in this field? How can I learn about openings?
- What do you consider to be the growth areas in the field?
- What are some related careers I might consider?
- What is a typical career path in your life of work within this organization?
- What formal or on-the-job training does your organization provide?
- Considering my skills, interest, and academic background, where might you see me fitting into this organization or a similar one?
LIFESTYLE AND WORK ENVIRONMENT
- Generally, what is the work environment like here?
- How many hours do people work in a typical week?
- What obligations does your job place upon you outside the normal work week?
- How much flexibility do you have in terms of dress, hours of work, and vacation schedule?
- If you were back in college, would you do anything differently in terms of coursework or summer experiences?
- If you were just coming out of college and looking for this kind of work, how would you conduct your job search?
- Can you suggest others whom I could speak with about this field? May I use your name when I contact them? Should I make contact by email, phone, or letter?
Jobs and Internships
Internships and experiential learning opportunities are a vital part of the job-search process. Human Ecology provides a number of popular internship programs that combine field experience with and academic coursework. Cornell also has an extensive on-campus recruiting program. Professional counselors help students develop life-long strategies to successfully navigate the job market.
- Summer is an important time for Human Ecology students to gain valuable and sustained career experience and exposure. Most opportunities are found through early preparation and networking. Internship workshops are offered throughout the year in the College of Human Ecology Career and through Cornell Career Services. Check the college calendar (link to our upcoming calendar of events) and Cornell Career Services calendar for details.
- The Alumni Connections Program (ACP) is a year-round opportunity for students to connect with Cornell Alumni for shadow experiences or informational interviews. There are a wide variety of industries available to provide opportunities for exploring your career path while expanding your network.
- Off-Campus Study Programs occur during the fall, spring, and summer semesters. Students gain internship experience and also earn academic credits. If you plan to participate in one of these programs, it is important to speak with your academic advisors in order to plan your schedules accordingly.
For specific internship information by department, check out the Human Ecology internship guides. They contain job listings, industry websites, and other resources, including a list of selected career outcomes per major. Copies of these guides are available in the Career Exploration Center, 162 MVR.
Complete the optional online tutorial to learn how to use the system most effectively.
On Campus Recruiting
Students who wish to participate in Cornell’s on-campus recruiting program for jobs or internships must take the proper steps to use the system successfully. Please note that only about 20% of students find employment through this program. Many companies who recruit on campus are large organizations with the finances and resources to visit universities in this fashion. It is important for students to develop additional strategies to supplement their job search.
Important components of the OCR program are company presentations. Some presentations are open to all students while others are limited to those who have been pre-selected to interview with the company. If the presentation is open to the public, you are encouraged to attend. These sessions offer excellent opportunities to learn about various industries and to prepare you for future recruiting opportunities.
Networking through personal and family contacts, faculty connections, peers, and alumni is one of the most effective ways to find a job and to advance your professional career.
Cornell Career Services (CCS) sponsors an annual two-day career fair in September that hosts approximately 200 employers, and an annual non-profit and government career fair in the spring. Cornell Career Fairs
Human Ecology offers workshops every semester to help students prepare for career fairs, including the presentation of important tips and individual resume critiques. Human Ecology calendar
New York Recruiting Consortium (NYRC)
Human Ecology seniors can interview in New York City in January for positions in New York. Many fields are represented, including medical research, law, consulting, finance, and retail. NYRC
Short-terms Jobs, Internships, and Volunteer Opportunities can provide valuable experiences, help you gain skills or knowledge for a specific job, build your networking contacts, and enhance your competitive edge for a full-time position.
Fellowships are available for students wishing to pursue their academic studies or public sector service. They usually involve research, teaching or service. Cornell Fellowships Program
Research positions are available in a wide variety of fields and settings, including universities, research centers, and healthcare facilities. Human Ecology students pursue research in the social sciences, life sciences, physical sciences, design, and technology.
Service and Teaching Positions are popular with many Human Ecology students, including the Peace Corps, City Year, AmeriCorps, Partners in Health, Teach for .America, NYC Teaching Fellows, and more.
Other methods for finding employment include employer websites, advertised openings through online services, targeted mailings, employment agencies, short-term employment opportunities, and volunteering opportunities.
Graduate and Professional Schools
Thirty-five to forty percent of Human Ecology students continue their education in professional or graduate programs immediately upon graduation. Others choose to take time off before pursuing further degrees.
Applying to graduate school is similar to applying for an undergraduate degree at Cornell. In addition to the basic application however, some graduate schools require field experience, others require research, while still others evaluate candidates based solely on previous academic achievement.
Students are strongly encouraged to work with Human Ecology faculty advisors and career counselors, and to use the resources in the Career Exploration Center, 162 MVR. Because graduate school is very specialized, it is essential to evaluate thoroughly one’s interests and goals before applying.
Human Ecology offers a distinctive undergraduate education for students interested in human health and medicine. You can explore healthcare needs from perspectives in nutrition and human biology, human development, economic and public policy, and design and technology. All seven major fields provide excellent preparations for medical and dental school, as well as other careers in health, business, law, or education.
Graduates of Cornell are accepted to medical and dental schools at the same rate, regardless of their major in the physical or social sciences, as long as they complete the required courses in introductory biology, chemistry, organic chemistry and physics.
The College also sponsors a prominent and well-respected student-run premed/predent/prehealth organization called PATCH. Students can network with colleagues, receive valuable academic and professional advising, get connected with college and university health-related resources, visit a medical school, get a peer mentor, and more!
Choosing majors and courses
You should choose a major that best suits your interests. Many medical and dental schools require coursework in advanced biology, mathematics, and the humanities. It is essential that you work with premed advisors and faculty advisors to make sure you are well-informed about the options you have in choosing your major and meeting your requirements.
For details, refer to the Cornell Career Service Guide for First and Second Year Pre-Medical Students, and the health careers website.
All Human Ecology students are encouraged to register for AdviseStream, a comprehensive prehealth advising platform. Advisestream is populated with Cornell data and is a powerful tool for students to explore, prepare, and apply for careers in the health professions. It allows students to track coursework, develop and record the necessary competencies for admissions to professional schools, publish resumes, and work collaboratively with advisors. It also provides access to the most current national admissions information from the MSAR and recent Cornell admissions statistics.
Use the following link for the Human Health Professionals Guide for Advanced Pre-Medical Students.
The most current information for U.S. and Canadian dental schools can be found in the ADEA Official Guide to Dental Schools. Copies can be found in Human Ecology's Career Exploration Center in 162 MVR, and the Cornell Career Services library in 103 Barnes Hall.
Gaining Clinical Experience
Gaining clinical experiences through internships and externships is one of the best ways to test your interest in medicine and the health professions and is essential for acceptance into medical school. You can:
- Create your own internship at a hospital, clinic, or physician's office by networking.
- Check internship postings in Cornell Handshake.
- Participate in an off-campus study program during an academic semester or in the summer.
- Read the postings each week in Communecology. A Cornell ID is required.
- Check weekly posting in the Career Exploration Center.
- Participate in the Alumni Connections Program (ACP).
- Join Human Ecology's student organizations.
- Check the Community Service Search Guide.
- Speak with your faculty advisor or Human Ecology's premed advisor and career counselors.
Students who enjoy research are encouraged to pursue their interests. Exploration in the social or physical sciences is positively valued by medical schools. Independent research also offers an excellent opportunity to form valuable connections with a faculty member. However, unless students are pursuing an MD/PhD, research is not always a necessity for competitiveness in the medical school application process. The Director of Undergraduate Studies in your major can assist you in identifying appropriate research opportunities.
A well-established evaluation process is used to measure the credentials of premed students from all seven undergraduate colleges. Cornell's Health Careers Evaluation Committee (HCEC) will write a letter of evaluation for any student who has taken the required courses and follows the required procedures for obtaining a letter. You begin working with this committee in the academic year preceding the submission of their applications.
Your college faculty and premed advisor will help you plan your course of study, locate opportunities for practical experience in the health care field, and consider career options. The university-wide Health Careers Program provides further information, resources, counseling, and workshops.
It is very important for transfer students to attend all premed/predent orientation workshops and meet with their faculty and college premed advisor as soon as possible. You must choose courses carefully in order to fulfill the requirements for eligibility with the Health Careers Evaluation Committee (HCEC). Understanding your competitiveness and deciding about when to apply to medical school depends on individual circumstances and should be discussed with the college's premed advisor.
For more details, refer to the Human Health Professionals Guide for Advanced Pre-Medical Students
Law schools do not require a core curriculum of courses. However, you are encouraged to take courses that increase skill in communication, writing, and analytical thinking. Human Ecology students interested in pursuing a legal education should schedule an appointment to meet with the pre-law advisor in the Student and Career Development Office, 172 MVR.
Tips for Pre-law Students
- Connect early! Discuss your goals with your academic advisor, talk to peers and faculty, and find out about unique opportunities to build on your strengths and interests.
- Schedule an appointment with the pre-law advisor to discuss the law school application process and the undergraduate pre-law experience in Human Ecology.
- Broaden your knowledge by attending pre-law events and programs on campus.
- Consider joining one of Cornell's pre-law student organizations which include: Minority Undergraduate Law Society (MULS), Phi Alpha Delta (PAD) Pre-Law Fraternity.
- Increase skills in reading and writing through academic and extracurricular activities.
Links to Pre-law Information
Understanding the role of business in a global society and the factors that influence consumer behavior and decision making are essential in today’s markets. Along with traditional skills, Human Ecology students are taught to analyze problems, see possibilities, and develop solutions without losing sight of the human component. More than 50% of Human Ecology graduates find employment in the business sector.
Because the field of “business” is broad, one must be broadly prepared, tested and informed. While there is no structured curriculum or singularly relevant experiences for a career in business, being thoughtful about the choices you make and the experiences you create is important.
Understanding what role you would like to play and talents you have to contribute should focus your efforts. Business can mean: human resources, facilities and real estate, project design and management, product development, consulting/ advising, investment, market management, global wealth and more. All require an awareness of opportunity, an understanding of how decisions are made and their impact, whole systems and analytical thinking, precision and strong communications skills.
Students can choose from seven majors in the college, all which build on a strong liberal arts foundation. At the same time, students complete core courses in their major with an emphasis on economics and public policy, human development, nutrition and health, or design and technology. They also have the flexibility to take business classes from across the university.
The Sloan Program in Health Administration which is housed in the Department of Policy Analysis and Management (PAM) offers a Master of Health Administration (MHA), a dual degree MHA/MBA with Johnson at Cornell, an accelerated 5-year BA/BS + MHA, and access to extraordinary Cornell programs such as hotel management, labor relations and law. The Sloan Program prepares professionals for leadership positions throughout the health care industry.
For more details on Human Ecology career opportunities in business, visit the Career Exploration Center and site to pick up a fact sheet of detailed information, to review our related library offerings to support your exploration and search, and to understand the variety of interviewing techniques that can help you be competitive and successful.
Human Ecology students interested in design careers understand the impact that design has on how we interact with materials and everyday objects, and perform within spaces. Beyond problem-solving, our students use planning, resource management, changing technologies, and the strategic use of creativity to transform society.
Those students wishing to complete postgraduate work in design typically pursue a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degree, which is generally the terminal degree in the field. Areas of study include the visual arts, theater, and filmmaking.
The Department of Design + Environmental Analysis (DEA) focuses on the creation, management and research innovation in the built environment. Students often pursue graduate work in architecture, business, real estate, engineering and strategic planning. The department also houses a rich resource center.
The Department of Fiber Science and Apparel Design (FSAD) is a design-centered program in fashion design, technical apparel, fashion design management, and fiber engineering and chemistry. Graduates find diverse work within the industry--design, sales, manufacturing and product development, buying /planning, writing/editing, upper-level management—and beyond.
Human Ecology’s Career Exploration Center has a rich collection of sample resumes and portfolios as well as an extensive collection of books related to the field. Check out the CEC library database and use the keyword “design” for your search.
Graduate study allows students to deepen existing knowledge and expand professional skills. Human Ecology students pursue a variety of professional and graduate school options including:
- policy and law
- clinical psychology
- nutrition and health
- public health
- human services
In considering graduate school and assessing options, students are strongly encouraged to:
- talk with their faculty advisors
- schedule an appointment to meet with a career development counselor. Stop by 172 MVR or call (607) 255-2532
- visit the Career Exploration Center in 162 MVR
Visit Cornell Career Services for more information
Cornell is a large and diverse university comprised of seven undergraduate colleges and several graduate and professional schools. Employers can meet and recruit students in several ways.
-They can work with the individual colleges to target students from specialized majors or with specialized interests.
-They can work with Cornell Career Services (CCS), the university-wide career office that provides access to students from all majors and colleges.
-They can set up schedules with both individual colleges and Cornell Career Services.
Human Ecology is a unique college within Cornell that houses premier academic programs in the natural and social sciences, as well as in design and technology. It provides students with a strong liberal arts foundation that supports career-specific preparation in a small-college environment, utilizing the resources of a comprehensive Ivy League institution.
Human Ecology's Office of Career Development provides employers with the same personal and individualized attention that is given to our students. We assist employers in creating productive relationships with college faculty and students. Employer presentations in classrooms offer excellent venues for companies to increase their visibility and educate highly talented students about opportunities in their organizations.
Contact Human Ecology's Office of Student and Career Development at 607/255-2532 to:
- schedule a visit to talk with faculty and counselors about Human Ecology programs, majors and students,
- recruit students for internships or permanent positions,
- post your positions in Human Ecology's weekly electronic newsletter
Human Ecology graduates are prepared for careers in business and management, medicine and health, law and public policy, and design and technology. Check our Postgraduate Surveys for detailed information.
Resources for Alumni
Resources for Alumni
- Professional counselors provide career assistance, job-search advice, and critiques of resumes and cover letters. In some cases, alumni may wish to return to school and pursue careers in medicine, law, or other graduate studies. Our counselors can help you prepare for these transitions. To schedule an appointment, call (607) 255-2532.
- Cornell Careers Services also provides many valuable resources to alumni from all colleges. Alumni may request career assistance, network with fellow alumni, provide career-related opportunities to current students, or hire experienced Cornellians.
- Volunteer through Cornell Career Services for their shadowing programs, informational interviewing database, and more.
- Participate in the annual career forum and workshop sponsored by the Association for Students of Color (ASC). For details, call (607) 255-2532.
- Provide internships for Human Ecology students. Work with career counselors to develop internship descriptions and promote recruitment through faculty and academic departments. Call 255-2532.
- Provide externships for current students to shadow alumni in their work place setting through Cornell's Job Shadowing Programs.
- Hire or encourage your employer to hire Cornellians for summer or full-time positions through Cornell Career Services.