If you are a high school senior or junior making decisions about the college you will attend and your goal is to graduate with a good job, you should think about a few issues that are seldom discussed. Since the cumulative effect of your choices can greatly impact the number of employers that will want to interview you in your senior year of college, wise students carefully think about each decision.
When evaluating colleges, most students and parents consider factors such as:
– Admission Requirements
– Grant/Scholarship Money
– Tuition, Room & Board
– Size, Location and Environment
– Distance from Home
– Safety and Security
– Class Size
– Medical Facilities
– Campus Activities, Entertainment & Sports
– Gut Feelings
Although those college selection factors are important, there are other considerations that should also be evaluated. Here are a few things that may affect your chances for finding a good job when you graduate.
Reputation Of The College– Students should apply to the best colleges they can afford, colleges with a good reputation in their field of interest. A good college reputation will help when you begin to look for a job. Even if you are still uncertain about your major, keep in mind that nationally known and respected colleges tend to be more attractive to many employers. You will have to decide whether graduating from a college that is highly respected in your field, is worth the financial sacrifice.
Questions: Is there a two-year or lower cost four-year college that you can attend for the first two years and then transfer to a better college? Have you considered working full time and attending college at night or on weekends, as a way to afford a college with a good reputation in your area of interest?
Job Search Preparation and Employment Assistance – There will be great variations in the quality and quantity of people, training and services that colleges provide to students in the critical areas of job search preparation and employment. Some colleges recognize the importance of job search preparation, accomplishments and work experience. Other colleges don’t even help very much with the senior year job search.
Since your goal is to graduate from college with a good job, a great deal of weight should be given to colleges that aggressively support and encourage each student’s job search preparation efforts through ongoing training, coaching and job identification. A short meeting with someone in Career Services in the senior year of college is totally inadequate for any student who hopes to land a good job.
Questions: How many people work in the Career Services Office, as compared to the total number of students? Does the freshman orientation program emphasize preparation and planning for the end goal? Does the college recognize that preparation for the senior year job search starts in the freshman year and continues throughout the college experience? How much job search training and personal attention will students receive each year? How many employers visited the campus last year to recruit students in your specific field of study? How does the college help seniors find jobs in their own field? Have the college leaders created a campus culture that truly helps students find good jobs? Does the college maintain a close relationship with alumni who can help students find good jobs? Do your professors and instructors serve as consultants to employers or belong to associations in your field? Do they introduce students to their industry contacts?
Active Student Participation – Employers love students who can present them with a list of significant accomplishments. Getting involved with on-campus and off-campus activities is a good way to demonstrate student capabilities and successes.
Questions: Does the college and the local area offer students a wide array of opportunities to participate in campus, community, work and leisure activities where students can accumulate a list of successes and impressive accomplishments? Will the student take advantage of these opportunities to work and participate?
Your College Major – Not all college majors lead to good jobs. However, most students will do better when they select something they do well at and enjoy. Therefore, students should do some research and identify colleges that have a good reputation in their field of interest.
Even though a college has a good overall reputation and offers 60 – 80 different majors, not every major offered is of the same quality or has the same reputation among employers. When a college has a great reputation in a given field, more employers will seek out, interview and hire students from that college. Wise students take the time to find out which colleges have the best reputation in their field of interest before they make their final college selection.
Questions: Does you college major lead to a good job? With the major you’ve selected, what kind of jobs are you most likely to obtain when you graduate? Which employers offer those jobs? What do those employers want and expect from students interviewing for those jobs? What should you do during the college years to get prepared for those jobs and those interviews?
Your College Minor – Many students don’t give much thought to their college minor. However, it is important for students to select a minor that will support or compliment their college major. When a minor is directly aligned with their major, it tends to strengthen a student’s expertise, especially in technical areas. Some students choose a business minor, recognizing that there is a business component to every field. All businesses need people who have technical expertise in that field, but can also run the business as managers and hold positions in sales, marketing, customer service and human resources, etc.