Career development and closing the skills gap are top of mind for leaders in enrollment management, marketing and higher education in general. There are unique challenges in aligning all aspects of the student experience with long-term career success. InsideTrack was afforded the opportunity to delve into the topic of Career Development more deeply in a few recent conference sessions. The following are a few highlights from these discussions.
Traditional and Post-Traditional Students Alike Are Looking for More
As “traditional” students are increasingly diverse, the needs and interests of these students closely resemble the needs and interests of post-traditional students. Rarely do college freshmen not aspire to some sort of career. All students need individualized guidance connecting the classroom to on-the-job scenarios. The value of a degree is debated in public discourse every day – institutions would be wise to proactively show the value of their degree.
Divided Student Support Services Negatively Impact Student Engagement
Advising and career services are considered two discrete functions on most campuses. Your organizational chart may send students the message that career development is not integral to their success. Too often, panicked seniors schedule appointments only when it’s time to actively search for a job. Students and institutions both tend to pigeon hole “career services” as a resource for resume, interview and job search tools, overlooking other more holistic aspects such as personal values, strengths and program selection.
Data Can Inform More Than Program Offerings
Real-time insights can inform decisions about internships, extra-curricular activities and faculty feedback and classroom discussions. Labor market data provides insights to determine which programs to launch, grow, or sunset. Powerful data may also help differentiate programs and give students a running start at establishing a career. New applications of this type of data could help connect classroom learning to real world application without the need to constantly overhaul academic curriculum.
Focusing on Career Success is Not a Road to Vocational School
All this talk about career outcomes can feel like a threat to the model of liberal education. Yet report after report suggests the learning outcomes of liberal arts – critical thinking, problem solving, communication, etc. – are more important to employers than ever. It’s up to institutions to communicate the value of a liberal education and offer meaningful career services for students in all fields of study.
Incorporating career development throughout the student lifecycle requires collaboration and alignment but it’s not impossible. Contact us to learn more about our recent career development insights and research or how we could help you incorporate an effective career coaching program.