Report: College students don't feel prepared for careers, but are optimistic about job prospects

Dive Brief:

  • The majority of college students feel unprepared for a professional career, with students who have identified a career path for themselves feeling twice as prepared for their futures as those who are unsure of their path, according to an analysis of a McGraw Hill Education study by Campus Technology.
  • 63% of the students said that internships and professional experiences during their college years would be helpful for preparing college skills, while 49% called for more access to college preparation tools. However, most students said they did not or rarely utilized their college’s career resources.
  • Though students felt that their college educations had adequately prepared them to think critically, manage time and work in a group, many felt unprepared for the practical aspects of succeeding in the workplace, including networking, job interviewing and using industry-specific tech. 

Dive Insight:

The survey's results point to an opportunity for curricula more integrated with professional experience and development, like U Mass Boston’s education students who partnered with a local nonprofit to garner in-classroom experience in the midst of their college career. The students’ concerns mirror increased attention on the political stage in recent years about the need for more robust opportunities in vocational training. In many careers, there is not as much need for credentialing beyond industry-specific knowledge and experience garnered from working with professionals. 

However, perhaps the answer is as simple as bolstering marketing efforts around the campus career center to encourage more students to visit and utilize its services. If most students are reporting little interaction with the career center, some of the more practical skills they're seeking around interview prep and networking could be sitting right in front of them. One consideration might be mandating a visit as a requirement of freshman seminar to put it on students' radar early.

Filed Under: Higher Ed
Top image credit: Barnes & Noble College