College to Career?

Avatar for elc11
Community Leader
Registered: 06-16-1998
College to Career?
4
Sun, 09-15-2013 - 4:07pm

Does your CS' school have much emphasis on translating the degree into a career? Does the Career Center reach out to help the students prepare for future careers, or does the student need to engage the Center? Should universities concentrate on learning or do they have a role in helping students plan a career? Do you think a focus on career planning is really for the benefit of the student, or more to keep the parents happy?

Interesting article in today's NYTimes on this topic:

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/15/magazine/how-to-get-a-job-with-a-philosophy-degree.html?pagewanted=4&_r=0&hpw

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-27-1998
Tue, 09-17-2013 - 4:23pm

" As a former English major with liberal arty kids, I am so very tired of hearing people talk as though the only thing a college education is good for is to get a job, and therefore the liberal arts are just a timewaster for elite kids.  Many of the very successful people I know have liberal arts degrees."

Preach it, sister! In fact, while it may be easier to get a high paying entry level job with a STEM degree, a CEO is more likely to have a humanities degree. The thing most heads of state, CEOs and other leaders have in common is a liberal arts background.

I don't want my kids trained to get a job, I want them educated so they'll make good bosses if that's the path they choose.

Avatar for mahopac
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-24-1997
Mon, 09-16-2013 - 1:38pm

The article makes a number of good points about career counseling in colleges, both pro and con.

This:  "If universities want to preserve the liberal arts, they have a responsibility to help those humanities majors know how to translate their studies into the work world" - agree, agree, agree.  As a former English major with liberal arty kids, I am so very tired of hearing people talk as though the only thing a college education is good for is to get a job, and therefore the liberal arts are just a timewaster for elite kids.  Many of the very successful people I know have liberal arts degrees.  And everyone needs to work.  To that end, colleges need to reassure prospective students and their parents that they can get a great, mind-expanding education AND still get a job.

The example of the parents who wanted to talk to a communications professor about career options for their student made me laugh.  First of all, professors are rarely the best people to talk to about that.  And second, um, helicoptering??!!  If the student can't ask for himself, how is he going to get a job anyway?  Even my socially anxious son was able to go talk to professors in his department about the kinds of jobs are eventually available to people who continue on to grad school in the various subdisciplines of that major.

I also agree with the educators who want to ensure that this emphasis on employability does not interfere with the actual education of students.  Unless a university plans to be a degree mill, their primary job is to educate. 

DS's small liberal arts college does some nifty things for students and encourages them to start using the career center their freshman year.  Parents and alumni are strong urged to be involved in helping network with students and alumni.  Last winter, DS "job shadowed" someone at a very interesting job during winter break, which he found highly instructive.  If my job were educational for a student, I'd do the same thing, but alas, it is not.

Avatar for suzyk2118
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-30-1997
Mon, 09-16-2013 - 9:45am

Considering last year when ds was a junior and had transferred to this U and the only counseling he got was his advisor (head of dept) saying yes, you can take these classes, I'd guess no, it'd be up to the student to go seek out help.  I don't recall anything like this 'back in the day' for me.  I do think it'd be helpful, especially for some of the more esoteric majors (like art for my ds) that don't have people banging on your door for your knowledge and expertise!

Sue

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-23-2003
Sun, 09-15-2013 - 6:57pm

From the bit I've seen and what I heard at orientation last year, DD's school has various workshops and activites that they pitch to the students.  One in particular stands out to me.  It was lunch at the president's house with instruction on how to eat at a business luncheon, place settings, etc.  (After seeing some of her friends eat...sheesh!)  But a staff member says that they encourage the students to come in BEFORE the final semester of the senior year to get involved with the office.  They try to get the students to think outside the box on their majors when thinking of jobs.  They suggest additional classes or oppotunities.  However, he said most students don't come until that last semester when they want the office to hook them up with a job.  A good job.

I do think the career development office has a role for many students.  Yes, universities should concentrate on learning, but they also should provide career guidance for students. The point of the college education is to lead to more fulfilling and/or higher paying jobs, many of which are unknown to students when they enter college.  When I was a student, had I used the office at all, I would have had some clue as to what jobs were awaiting college grads besides sales reps.  I probably would have known more about what my major was about in the real world.  I was so naive and clueless.  Many students are still just as clueless as I was.  Everyone does not have a support network outside of school that that can provide career guidance or contacts.