One in Six U.S. Grads Say Career Services Was Very Helpful

While 52% of U.S. college graduates report visiting the career services office at least once during their undergraduate experience, they are equally likely to say their experience was “not at all helpful” (16%) as they are to say it was “very helpful” (16%). Overall, just under eight in 10 graduates who visited a career services offices say it was very helpful, “helpful” or “somewhat helpful.”

Career Services Office Helpfulness Among College Graduates Who Reported Visiting the Office

How helpful was the career services office to you?

 

College graduates

 

%

Very helpful

16

Helpful

27

Somewhat helpful

36

Not at all helpful

16

Don’t know/Cannot recall

6

2016 Gallup-Purdue Index

The findings are among those released Tuesday in the Gallup-Purdue Index Report 2016, based on more than 11,000 interviews with U.S. adults aged 18 and older with at least a bachelor’s degree, conducted Aug. 22-Oct. 11, 2016. The study was conducted as part of the third year of the Gallup-Purdue Index — a nationally representative survey that has interviewed 70,000 different college graduates over three years.

Recent Grads More Likely to Use Career Services

Recent college graduates are more likely than those who graduated earlier to report visiting their school’s career services office. Sixty-one percent of graduates who received their degree since 2009 say they visited the career services office at least once during their undergraduate experience, while 32% report they did not and 7% were unsure.

Part of the reason for this gap in recent versus earlier graduates’ reports is that a larger percentage of earlier graduates may be unable to recall their experience with the career services office. However, it could also stem from real changes in college students’ interactions with career services over time and the fact that colleges’ career services’ offerings have evolved dramatically in past decades.

Percentage of College Graduates Who Say They Visited Career Services Office, by Time Period

While attending [University Name], did you visit the career services office at least once?

 

Yes

No

Don’t know/Cannot recall

 

%

%

%

Up to 1949

30

44

26

1950-1959

30

52

18

1960-1969

35

49

15

1970-1979

40

44

16

1980-1989

52

33

14

1990-1999

53

33

14

2000-2009

55

33

11

2010-2016

61

32

7

Total

52

36

12

2016 Gallup-Purdue Index

Although recent graduates are more likely than graduates who earned their degree years earlier to recall having visited their career services office, those in various groups who visited the career services office similarly recollect the program’s effectiveness. About two in five graduates who received their degree in each decade between 1980 and 2016 say that the career services office was very helpful or helpful to them.

Career Services Office Helpfulness Among Those Who Reported Visiting Office, by Time Period

How helpful was the career services office to you?

 

Very helpful

Helpful

Somewhat helpful

Not at all helpful

Don’t know/Cannot recall

 

%

%

%

%

%

Up to 1949

30

14

5

25

26

1950-1959

24

33

31

6

5

1960-1969

21

34

33

6

6

1970-1979

16

30

37

12

5

1980-1989

17

26

36

15

5

1990-1999

18

25

35

16

7

2000-2009

13

26

36

18

7

2010-2016

17

26

37

17

3

Total

16

27

36

16

5

2016 Gallup-Purdue Index

In most graduation groups, those who visited their career services office were about equally likely to rate it as not at all helpful as to rate it very helpful. However, graduates from the 1950s and 1960s were much more likely to report a very positive experience than a very negative one.

Quality of Career Services Is Crucial

Graduates who visited their career services office are not much more likely than those who did not to believe their university prepared them well for life outside of college, to say their education was worth the cost and to recommend their university to others. However, graduates who recall having a high-quality experience with their career services office are markedly more likely to rate their college experience positively. For example, graduates who rated their experiences with career services as very helpful are 5.8 times more likely to strongly agree that their university prepared them for post-collegiate life, nearly 3.0 times more likely to “strongly agree” that their education was worth, and 3.4 times more likely to recommend their alma mater.

Quality of Career Services Experience and Retrospective Evaluation of University

 

Yes, did visit career services

No, did no visit career services

Career services “very helpful”

Career services “not at all helpful”

 

%

%

%

%

My university prepared me well for life outside of college

34

26

58

10

My education was worth the cost

49

49

72

24

Extremely likely to recommend alma mater to family, friends or colleagues

45

38

68

20

2016 Gallup-Purdue Index

Implications

Americans with a bachelor’s degree can expect to earn about $1 million more than those with a high school diploma over the course of their careers. However, the unemployment rate for college graduates in the U.S. aged 25 and older is now nearly double what it was in 2000, compared with an overall employment rate for that is only one percentage point higher in 2016 than it was in 2000. As a result, schools must adopt new programs and policies to better prepare their graduates for a changing and competitive job market.

Career services offices often provide this support, which can include stimulating student interest in disciplines they had previously not considered, helping students select a major field of study, helping students secure employment while enrolled in college, and preparing students for finding a job upon graduation through mock interviews and resume workshops.

Getting students in the door of their school’s career services office is only half the battle colleges face. The other half is making sure the experience is as meaningful as possible. The quality of the interactions students have with their career services office has a significantly greater relationship with the likelihood that students report having felt prepared for life after graduation than whether they simply visit at all.

From http://www.gallup.com/poll/199307/one-six-grads-say-career-services-helpful.aspx?utm_source=alert&utm_medium=email&utm_content=morelink&utm_campaign=syndication

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