Career Support that Expands Students’ Possibilities by Providing Various Opportunities and an Environment for Growth

Atsuko Nagai
Vice President for Student and General Affairs
Professor, Department of French Literature, Faculty of Humanities

In this era of rapid social change, where the future is difficult to predict, the next generation’s approach toward work and careers is changing. To understand what kind of support Sophia University offers in response to these changes, the Vice President for Student and General Affairs will speak on the University’s support measures and philosophy.

Providing Opportunities for Students to Think and Act Independently on their Career Paths

In recent years, we have seen a great diversification in how students approach their careers. Some students value work-life balance the most; while others value social contribution over salary or social status; still others value activities outside of work. To encourage students to realize the career path that is best fit for them, Sophia University is working to provide tailored career support for each student’s abilities, personality, and aspirations.

Sophia University’s basic policy for career support is to “provide students with opportunities and information so that they can think independently and pursue their career path.” During their time as students, we want students to broaden their perspectives while gaining diverse experiences, learn about various jobs they had not considered before, and overall, increase their options in life. To this end, the University provides study abroad, overseas training, internships at international organizations, volunteer activities in Japan, and many more opportunities.

At first glance, studying abroad, volunteering, and extracurricular activities may not seem like activities that contribute directly to one’s future career. However, in the long run, these opportunities provide space for students to think about what they can and want to do in the future.

Employment Support that Prioritizes Individual Attention for a Diverse Range of Students

Realistic employment support is essential for students to realize their desired career paths. The Career Center, in charge of career and employment support, has 9 full-time staff and 30 advisors who provide attentive support to students.

At the Career Center, we emphasize “listening” in our daily individual counseling sessions. We listen thoroughly to students’ concerns and career ideas, and give advice while confirming that the student’s views on work align with their job-hunting activities.

Individual counseling is available to all students regardless of academic year, in person or online. Sessions are also available in English and Chinese to ensure that international students feel comfortable utilizing this service as well.

About 180 different types of guidance sessions are held during the year to accommodate students with diverse backgrounds and personalities. Sessions include guidance for younger grades, those interested in a career in public service, those wishing to become teachers, industry-specific guidance, internship preparation, job placement exam preparation, as well as guidance for international students and for students with disabilities. We also provide individual counseling on LGBTQ and employment issues.

According to the 2021 Graduate Survey, approximately 90% of students who found employment post-graduation said they were “satisfied” with the career path they are on. In other words, students feel they were able to find employment at companies that matched their values – a result of our tailored employment support.

Expanding Your Possibilities by Meeting a Diverse Range of People

In the past, society had a strong tendency to seek employment at well-known or large companies, however, I believe those same tendencies are no longer as strong and people will no longer choose a place for its name recognition or size. My hope is that students will hone their career perspectives and choose a place of employment based on criteria important to them.

Meeting new people is also an important part of planning your career. Sophia University is a small university with 29 departments existing on a single campus, where students can study and live with students from over 90 countries and regions; many of our faculty members are foreign nationals. We hope this environment is stimulating to students and that they go on to have more experiences that challenge their existing set of values and expand their possibilities in life.

The educational spirit of our University is to nurture people who live “For Others, With Others.” We will continue to contribute to society by nurturing young people who embody this educational spirit that lies at the foundation of our career support.

Sophia University

For Others, With Others