In our last article, we focused on the role that you, the student, have in making the most of your investment in yourself while you are in college. You get out of college what you put into college, including an excellent internship or job when you graduate. But that does not tell the whole story. Your college or university has a role to play too.
There is a push for colleges and universities to find ways to make college more affordable, such as offering a $10,000 degree, but it is being met with mixed reviews. One counter-proposal even suggests that Florida universities charge less for majors that are in demand by employers, such as in engineering and health care. That is at least helping students focus on practical degrees that will land them a job when they graduate, unlike other majors that require a master’s degree in order to get a job. In that article and in support of that idea, the president of the Florida Chamber of Commerce Foundation explains “The higher education system needs to evolve with the economy. People pay taxes expecting that the public good will be served to the greatest degree possible. We call that a return on investment.”
Colleges today have a responsibility to not only teach you the basics, like the general education curriculum and an outstanding major, but to make sure that they equip their students with career-based knowledge and skills that help them land internships and jobs. Every college and university should offer programs on how to prepare a résumé, how to interview and how to network for a job and internship. My college has something we call the career toolkit, which includes just those things. It is time for colleges and universities to help their students make the connection between learning and employment. Parents and students spend too much of their hard-earned money on education not to demand a return on their investment.
Your college can also harness the power of its alumni to help make full employment happen for its graduates. Your college can invite alums to campus to help practice those interviews, to review your résumé, and to recruit for internships and jobs at their companies. Your college can create alumni networks to help students conduct informational interviews or shadow alums at their jobs, to learn more about possible careers. There are so many ways to include alums in the student employment process. Alums want to be involved in their college and university and this is a better way than just asking for money.
Finally, your college can be bold and ask alums to commit to help all students graduate with a job — just think if every college did this, or even if just one did — what a competitive advantage this school would have over others! What good is your alumni network if it doesn’t help you when you need them the most!
What role does your college or university play in your graduation and job placement? Are you getting a positive return on your investment?