One in four college educated adults is currently working in a field unrelated to their college degree. Approximately 10 percent of those under the age of 25 are working in retail or the food service industry.
In light of the ever-suffering economy, the days when a college degree guaranteed a job might be gone forever. Still, when choosing a college or university to attend many students are concerned with what job placement services these schools offer.
|JANET HARRIS (Photo by J.L. Martello)
At the National College Fair, hosted by the National Association for College Admission Counseling at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center on Feb. 3 and Feb. 4, college administrators and recruiters listed similar catalogs of career services all designed to help students find a job upon graduation.
“We have a career services office and that offers career fairs. It really just depends on what your major is,” said Patrick Scott, a recruitment officer with Howard University. “There’s no such thing as the best college; it’s about what’s the best fit for you. It’s about doing your research and finding what works for you.”
Every college or university has a career office offering students services such as resume writing and practice interviews. While these services are free to all students they are not a mandatory part of academic curriculum and some students might be unaware they exist.
“At our career services office we have mock job interviews. We also actually bring professionals to the school so we have career fairs,” said Janet Harris, assistant director of admissions, Duquesne University. “It’s important to look at colleges all over and especially outside of Pittsburgh to see what’s out there.”
Career fairs give students information about careers related to their academic major and can also connect students with actual prospective employers. Internships are also a great way for students to get a foot in the door at prospective companies.
“With the great internships we have, students are able to get experience in their fields,” said Eric Tarpley, assistant director of admission at California University. “We found out that 84 percent of our students went on to jobs or graduate schools.”
Data regarding post-graduate success for former students is not always readily available to prospective students and might present an inaccurate picture, as students going on to graduate school are often included in statistics. However, schools like Duquesne, whose nursing and pharmacy programs boast 100 percent job placement, can use job placement numbers as key selling points.
In order to adapt to the changing economic climate, colleges and universities must go a step further to ensure their students job placement upon graduation. Many schools are integrating cooperative education into their curriculum to give students more professional work experience.
“Co-operative education is an integration of classroom experience with real world job experience. There’s a long history of doing that at Northeastern,” said John Clark, a recruitment officer with Northeastern University. “(The economic climate) is hindering because job creation in this country isn’t happening. Because of that, a lot of our students are going on to graduate school.”