Asking, “What do I want to do with the rest of my life?” is a pretty frightening question. An even more daunting task is knowing how to answer it. At some point, you’ve probably stopped into career services with the hopes they could guide you in the right direction for post-college life. And though there’s no magic formula to follow, more and more grads have expressed their frustration with the advice they receive from career services not converting into gainful employment.
According to the 2016 Gallup-Purdue Index, more than half of college graduates say the career services offices at their alma maters were unhelpful or only somewhat helpful. The survey also discovered that when alumni don’t find their career services offices very helpful, it calls into question if the education they received was worth the price. But should the burden of students’ success rest solely on career services?
Andy Chan, vice president for personal and career development at Wake Forest University says that students need to assume some of the responsibility when it comes to their career services experience. He routinely hears students tell him they expect the career services office to offer them jobs, which in his mind is an unrealistic expectation. “I just met you, you’re a freshman, I’ve talked to you for 30 minutes, and you expect me to get you a job?” Chan said. To avoid frustration, students should do a little prep work before coming to career services so that their appointments will yield the results they’re hoping for. Start by making a list of any career choices that interest you, even if it’s only something you’re slightly interested in. Remember, working with career services is a collaborative effort and you will get out of it what you put in. It’s worth noting that the Gallup survey found that engineering and business majors are most likely to visit career services, while arts and humanities and science majors are the least likely to check it out. So, it shouldn’t be a surprise that roughly half of business and engineering graduates report that their college career centers were useful or very useful, compared to one third of arts and humanities grads.
Which Way to Career Services?
Let’s be honest. Not long after arriving at campus, you already knew where the best dining hall was, the dive where you could get a burrito at 1 a.m., and how to score the best tickets to athletic events. That same zeal should be applied to figuring out where career services is and what they offer. Check out this list of U.S. colleges and universities with the most impressive placement rates and career services to see if your school made the cut. And remember, even if you’ve already graduated, many schools still offer career services exclusively to their alumni.
What are you waiting for? Pull out your campus map, find career services, and make an appointment that just may shape your future.
Share in the comments how your school’s career services did or didn’t help you prepare for your post-grad life.
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