Tag Archives: college education

What are college graduate job skills?

One tends to read quite a bit, these days, about college graduate job skills (or the lack thereof).

Let me be very clear:  I do not believe you should enroll in college just to get a job.  

Neither should your major be a subject in which you have little or no interest only because the job prospects are good. College is much more.  It is a time to explore your interests and discover new talents. It’s a time to make life-long friendships.

The unemployment rate for college graduates was 3.8% last year. (High school graduates had an unemployment re of 7.4 %.)  But in a collaborative report between The Chronicle of Higher Education and American Public Media’s Marketplace, published in March of 2013, about 50% of 700 employers who participated in the study said they had trouble finding qualified college graduates to fill positions in their company. 

According to the employers in the study, college graduates need to have the following skills:

  • Good written and oral communication skills
  • Adaptability
  • Ability to manage multiple priorities
  • Ability to solve problems
  • Ability to collaborate
  • Flexibility
  • Knowing how retrieve and use information in a workplace situation.

College GuideThe New College Guide: How to Get In, Get Out, and Get a Job recommends:

  • Be your own advocate.
  • Go through the list of employable skills as you progress from your first to last year.
  • Be certain you are the graduate that future employers need and want.

The College Corporate Connection; or lack thereof

The college-corporate connection isn’t always a tight one, especially when it comes to views of employment following graduation.

A recent blog published by Intead outlined the differences between what college presidents think is important in getting a job after graduation and what employers believe is important.

Among the findings:

  • College presidents believe that a school’s reputation, a graduate’s internships, major, GPA, and employment during college were the most important factors.
  • Employers believe that internships, employment during college, college major, volunteer experiences and extracurricular activities were important when evaluating a potential employee.  College GPA and reputation came in last. 
  • Headlines stress how many college graduates are looking for jobs while living in their parents’ basements.  But that is only part of the story.  Employers have jobs that they cannot fill because college graduates do not have the necessary skills.
  • Increasingly corporations are partnering with colleges and universities to meet their future workforce needs to comprar cialis sin receta.  For example, IBM has created the Academic Initiative, and is working with colleges and universities to develop curricula that will help college graduates develop data skills needed to meet “Big Blue’s” future workforce needs.  Georgetown University, Northwestern University, the National University of Singapore and the University of Missouri are all participating schools.

The New College GuideThe New College Guide: How to Get In, Get Out and Get a Job recommends:

  • Meeting with staff in your school’s career counseling office to learn of any corporate partnerships.
  • Also get a list of all internships and off-site work opportunities.  
  • Be your own advocate and plot your own employment experience while in college.
  • You now know this is important to future employees.

The SAT is revised. Is it better? No.

Even with revisions, the SAT remains a seriously flawed – and therefore poor – indicator of college aptitude and qualification.

The first Scholastic Aptitude Test, or SAT,  was administered in June, 1926.  Students had 97 minutes to answer 315 questions.  For almost 90 years, the results of what most educational experts believe is a flawed test, have dominated admission applications and decisions.

Recently the College Board announced that it is altering the exam to include the following changes:

  • The mandatory essay has been eliminated.
  • A perfect score is 1600.
  • Changes in some sections of the advanced mathematics part of the exam have been eliminated. 
  • Obscure vocabulary words have been replaced.

Regardless of the suggested changes, the SAT remains a controversial exam. The poorest test takers score 400 points lower than richer students. The rich can pay for expensive test prep courses; the poor cannot.  Critics claim that this makes it relatively easy to game the system.

For too many years the most elite colleges and universities have used the exam to eliminate applicants with low SAT scores.  

  • Is there a connection between SAT scores and college rankings?
  • Has the exam become another “gatekeeper?”
  • How many college presidents and boards of trustees pressure enrollment management and admission deans to improve the average SAT scores of the next incoming class?
  • How many college presidents and boards of trustees examine, after one year, the grade point averages of the freshmen who entered with high SAT scores and those who did not?  
  • How many presidents and board of trustees examine the SAT scores of graduating seniors?

The New College GuideCritics of the exam, me included, believe that a better way to measure the academic competency of applicants is to examine their four year high school grades and progression. No one’s academic career should be judged by the results of one exam on one specific day.

The New College Guide: How to Get In, Get out, and Get a Job recommends: 

  • Investigate the hundreds of colleges and universities who are SAT-optional.

College education: how much aid is available?

Most families in the United States and around the world know that financing a college education is expensive.  

But a college degree is an investment for both the student and family.  So how much financial aid is available?

According to a report by the College Board, in 2012-13 a total of $185.1 billion was awarded to undergraduate students.  Loans represented 37% of the total amount awarded and 24% was awarded in grant aid.  This represents an increase of 132% since 2002-03.

The following statistics are important as you search for the best school for you and your family.  Last year: 

  • $13.0 billion was awarded in federal grants other than Pell grants.
  • Pell Grant funding totaled $32.3 billion.
  • Federal loans totaled $67.8 billion.
  • Private and employer grants were $9.8 billion.
  • Institutions awarded $34.9 billion in grant aid last year.
  • State grant funding totaled $9.6 billion.

mjdennisbook-cover-1000-wideIn addition to federal loans and grants, the federal government funded $.9 billion in Work-Study funding.

The New College Guide: How to Get In, Get Out, and Get a Job recommends:

  • Never eliminate a school because of the published costs.  Few families pay the full amount and as you can read in this blog, there is a great deal of money, from federal, state, institutional and private sources, that can assist you in funding your education.
  • International students should find out, before they enroll, all of the financial aid available at each of the schools on their lists.