The 2017 College Student Survey, a new nationally representative survey of current students examining their perceptions about preparation for the workforce and the career-related support they receive from their institutions. Representing the views of more than 32,000 students at 43 randomly selected four-year institutions, the survey reveals a crisis of confidence among most students regarding their readiness to launch careers.
Student confidence in their workforce preparation differs across majors.
Nontraditional students feel more prepared than traditional students.
Students who receive career-specific support feel most prepared for the workforce.
Nearly four in 10 students have never visited their school’s career services office of used online career resources, including more than one-third of seniors.
Career services are particularly helpful for underrepresented and underserved student populations.
Students receive helpful advice about courses and programs from academic advisers, but less so about careers and postgraduate options.
Advising is most helpful to underrepresented and underserved student populations.
Universities can push students to seek out conversations with faculty members about career options. In doing so, universities open a dialogue between faculty and students about the relationship between academic studies and future careers — one that stands to benefit all parties.
“Higher education’s promise of social mobility hinges on students graduating with confidence, purpose and the skills needed to land their first job,” said Bill Hansen, president and CEO of Strada Education NetworkSM and former U.S. Deputy Secretary of Education. “Students are telling us they feel underprepared to enter the workforce while employers bemoan the skills of recent graduates. That signals demand for new career advising and work-relevant learning models that support more successful transitions from education to employment.”
Importantly, the findings also point to solutions, revealing that students who have these three career-focused experiences at their institution are significantly more confident about their preparation for the workforce:
Additional survey insights include:
“Students aren’t prepared for work – and they know it,” said Brandon Busteed, Executive Director, Education & Workforce Development at Gallup. “The fact that 88% of freshmen say, ‘getting a good job’ is the reason they go to college, yet only a third strongly agree they are getting the skills and knowledge they need to succeed is a mandate to improve how institutions approach everything from their academic curriculum to advising.”
When it comes to education after high school, Americans know what they value and why. At Strada Education Network, we are listening to what they have to say and leveraging their insights about experiences and outcomes to forge more purposeful pathways between education and careers.
Gallup strategically partners with institutions to conduct custom research and implement best practices that create environments in which students and employees thrive.
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