Advising and Career Planning for HDFS Majors

Advising in HDFS

Welcome to HDFS! We are Devon Thomas and Teresa McGowan -- the full-time academic advisors for HDFS and for the Gerontology minor. We are here to help you get the most out of your studies. To schedule an appointment with one of us, please call the main HDFS department number (814-863-8000) or stop by the HDFS main office sometime between 8am-4pm Monday through Friday. (The HDFS main office is located room 119 of the beautiful new HHD Building, just inside the entrance that faces the Old Main lawn closest to College Avenue.) We are here to help you decide whether to pursue a degree in HDFS or a minor in HDFS or Gerontology. We will help you to plan wisely so that your degree or minor help you reach your future goals.

If you are considering pursuing a Bachelors in Science or minor in HDFS: Please contact the department to schedule an appointment with Teresa McGowan. Teresa will review your academic record, listen to you describe your future goals and help you think about how HDFS might fit into your plans. The earlier you have a conversation with Teresa, the more she can help you plan wisely as you complete your General Education requirements and begin your HDFS studies. Teresa is also available to assist with the Change of Major process for students who wish to transfer into the HDFS major.

If you are already an HDFS major: We encourage all HDFS majors to meet with one of us every semester. Regular meetings help us get to know you and provide you with the best possible advice as you pursue your studies. Common items on the agenda at these meetings include: choosing a degree option, whether to pursue an optional emphasis area or a minor, strategies for meeting degree and minor requirements (including supporting courses), internship or research opportunities, career planning, strategies for gaining relevant work experience, and graduate school. We are not financial aid advisors but we can direct you to the best resources at Penn State to help you with financial planning.

This website contains a great deal of useful information that can help you plan your HDFS studies. But we know that it can be challenging to think through how all of this information applies to your unique background and future goals. That is why we are here -- to help you ‘translate’ all the information on this website into a plan that helps you reach your goals.

We look forward to getting to know you!

Career Planning for HDFS

Academic and career planning go hand in hand. Your courses can help you explore careers and build marketable skills. There are many ways to add hands-on experiences to your education. So we have combined information on academic planning with information on career planning.

Use the resources in this section to:

Learn how to build an integrated academic and career plan that mixes career exploration, course work and hands-on experiences. This section includes a sample academic plan highlighting all the places you can specialize your degree to explore careers and build your skills. It also provides details about the various ways to:

  • Plan your courses to explore careers and build your skills.
    This section shows you how to use your general education requirements, HDFS electives, and supporting courses in your major to build skills and knowledge that will help you explore your interests, develop skills, and learn knowledge that will prepare you for careers.
  • Complement your course work with hands-on experiences to explore your interests, develop your skills, and build your resume.
    Students in HDFS gain hands on experiences through a range of for-credit and community experiences. For credit experiences include working as research and teaching assistants, taking hands-on practicum courses, and doing internships. Additional experiences such as extracurricular activities, volunteer positions, and part-time or summer jobs round out most students’ career development.

Need help?

  • We have excellent academic advisers in HDFS. Learn about the academic advising in HDFS and schedule an appointment with one of our advisers. All HDFS majors should meet with an HDFS adviser at least once a semester to build a strong academic and career plan.
  • Because career exploration and planning are new to many students, we have put together general information on career exploration and planning to help you get started.
  • To learn about specific careers that HDFS majors often pursue, visit Career Paths for HDFS Majors.

Additional Resources

Career Services offers individual career planning appointments, workshops, resources, and events.