Universities can do better: job after graduation

Harvard University

Dr. Drew Faust, president of Harvard University, recently acknowledged students and parents deserve some assurance a college degree can and will translate into a job after graduation.

Faust made her comments on a recent broadcast of The Charlie Rose Show while also endorsing the need for a liberal arts education.

From a practical and strategic enrollment management perspective, the time has long passed when staff from the career counseling office should be included when universities develop enrollment management plans.

Parents and students want to know what jobs your graduates get after they leave your school. That information should come at the beginning, not the end, of your marketing and recruitment planning for next year and can be used to improve your application and yield statistics.

Here are ten practical suggestions and questions:

  • When enrollment management plans are written for the 2014-15 admission year, be certain the career counseling staff is included in the strategic plans.
  • Is there a four, three, two or one-year career counseling plan that assists students by raising awareness of the constructive steps they can take to better position themselves at graduation to get a job.
  • Do career counselors speak to prospective students and parents?
  • Is career counseling information in a format that can be sent to guidance counselors, transfer counselors, parents and students? Is it on your website and printed publications? Do all of your admission and transfer counselors have this information?
  • Do you include career counseling and employment information as part of your on-campus information sessions?
  • Do you have the statistics of your school’s job placement from last year’s graduating class? Do you have this information by major?
  • Do you have typical starting salaries for graduates?
  • Do you have a list of job titles and companies of graduates?
  • Do you have quotes from U.S. and international alumni that can be used in marketing to future students?
  • Do alumni speak at accepted student receptions?

Can you compare your career counseling program and post-graduation statistics with your competitor schools?

This is the beginning of an entirely new way to reach future students and their parents with meaningful information.

More to come in next week’s blog on this subject.

Get Employment Statistics!

Few colleges and universities readily distribute the employment statistics of recent graduates for a simple reason: they do not have this information.  

That will not do for anyone reading this blog.

In the March 17th issue of the Wall Street Journal,   Melissa Korn, a writer for the paper, raises the issue of employment at graduation and reinforces my belief that colleges and universities should do more to help students find suitable employment at graduation.

college graduationMs. Korn writes about College Measures, a partnership between the American Institutes for Research and Matrix Knowledge.  This partnership can give students employment information in several states, including Texas, Virginia and Florida.

They created a website to make this information available to interested families.

Don’t forget to stop by the alumni office if you cannot get employment information from the admission or career counseling offices.  Alumni can be a useful source of information on internships or even offer entry level jobs to recent graduates.

Be your own advocate.