When students attend college or university, it is vital that they are properly prepared for life after they graduate. According to a survey conducted by McGraw-Hill Education, only 40% of college seniors feel prepared to pursue a career after they receive their degree.
Unfortunately, there are several ways in which colleges are failing to prepare their students for their transition into the working world. For most people, the traditional college education does not give the proper experience needed that includes workplace skills.
In contrast to the lacking resources and work experiences that are more often than not offered at schools around the nation, McGraw-Hill’s research shows that the majority of students across majors recognize the need for internships. Additionally, they see the need for other types of experimental learning; the opportunity to take advantage of career services and training for the job market and professional networking opportunities while in college is not easy to come by.
What are Universities doing wrong?
A portion of results from a 2012 Graduate Course Experience Survey show that nearly half of all bachelor graduates felt university professors seemed more interested in testing what they had memorized than what they had actually understood. Here are a few ways universities and colleges are failing to prepare their students for the market:
- Not fully informing the student of viable career options and realistic expectations of how they can secure these opportunities.
- Not properly transitioning students into engaged, self-reliant and mature members of the professional and social community.
- They are waiting until their final semester to introduce them to real-life working environments when it is often too late to properly teach them everything they may need to know.
- Failing to provide the resources required to successfully prepare students for the market.
- Failing to implement programs targeted to students specific career options including internships, community service, and volunteer work. These are effective ways to help students gain real-world work experience and practice important habits that can help shape their future as a professional.
If we ignore the mental and emotional toughness that students require to succeed in the “real world”, are we just attempting to meet their immediate need for “easy practices”?
Ready or Not?
In 2015, the Association of American Colleges and Universities surveyed approximately 400 employers and 613 college students about how ready those students were to enter the professional world. The survey found significant differences between the thought process of the university students and the employers.
Many of the differences were in relation to their skills. For example, 65% of the students felt that their writing skills were strong enough for the professional world, but only 27% of employers agreed.
When it comes to the students’ ability to work with people with little in common, 55% of students felt they were well prepared to handle it, but only 18% of employers felt the same.
How to Prepare your Students for the Working World
StartNoo focuses completely on helping you prepare your students for real-world experiences they will need after they graduate college. Employers are always seeking educated, mature, and young individuals experienced in their field who will serve as an asset to their organization.
Universities should implement high-impact practices that will help facilitate their students into becoming well-rounded individuals. Through StartNoo, students gain real-world experience by working with nonprofits to further charitable causes. These experiences are unique and range from web-based support to land surveying. Across the board, these opportunities take the word “externship” to an entirely different level, as the work that students do materially impact nonprofits.
A university’s job is not limited to providing lecture-based material for its students. Universities should create educational activities and opportunities for students that involve collaborative learning, in-depth inquiry, service learning, and internships. Through these hands-on, practical experiences, students learn to develop better leadership skills and are able to create successful solutions to real-life problems.
Recently, universities and colleges have been accused of sending their graduates out into the world with student loans and barely any proper real-world experience. Receiving a diploma or degree does not set one student apart from the other enough. Thus, more educational institutions are trying to introduce unique and innovative learning experiences that will give their students the knowledge they need to feel confident in securing a job they love after they graduate.
Here are a few ways your college or university can help your students be prepared to become an experienced professional:
- Implementing internship programs that cater to a number of career options.
- Creating opportunities for students to participate in volunteering and community service.
- Implementing programs that teach students about real-life scenarios and solutions.
- Encouraging teamwork across the board.
- Teaching critical thinking skills.
- Embedding a framework for work experiences and skills into all programmes being offered.
- Creating assignments to mirror real-world projects and scenarios.
The working world grows more demanding each day; it is vital that universities fully prepare students to face challenges head-on and come up with viable solutions. It is imperative that they are trained to communicate effectively, work collaboratively, and think critically. Organizations should be able to see that these graduates are apt in their fields and verse in skills to tackle real-world experiences.
StartNoo is one of the primary organizations available dedicated to preparing your students with real work experience for the job market. If StartNoo isn’t helping your campus yet, consider signing your university’s petition or becoming a Campus Manager. Join the StartNoo community to make this a reality!