How prepared are students for life after college?

Graduating from college is extremely exciting, however after graduation is over many people experience an “oh crap, what now?” moment. 

According to the results of McGraw-Hill Education's annual student workforce readiness survey, only one in five college students say they feel “very prepared” to join the workforce.

“While Eastern’s academics have prepared me for continuing a higher education, I have been unable to find a class capable of soliciting real world experience,” said Iris Vincent, an Eastern Michigan University senior literature major.

While 45 percent of the roughly 1,000 survey respondents said they feel “somewhat prepared” to begin a career after college, slightly more than half said they did not learn how to write a résumé and 56 percent said they did not learn how to conduct themselves in a job interview.

“The general education requirements that are designed to further an undergraduate’s development do not include a 101 on taxes, job etiquette, or balancing a checkbook,” said Vincent.

There are some simple things that you can do on your own to prepare for your professional life after college, such as creating a LinkedIn page and reading books about your field. You can also look at online templates for resumes to create your own and then have a trusted professor or advisor proofread it for you. Internships are also the best way to get a feel for your industry.

“Perhaps Eastern assumes that we have learned these things in high school, however, we were all required to take algebra to graduate high school and Eastern insists on taking another semester of the subject, despite your major,” said Vincent.

Depending on your major, some classes may be more beneficial than others so make sure you are considering what you can benefit from as opposed to what will be an easy A. Courses in your major that involve building your portfolio or getting an internship are definitely ones to look out for.

“They do have organizations on campus that can help you get more involved with the different aspects of your major,” said Julia Otero, a therapeutic recreation major.

Sometimes the best resources and opportunities come from professional organizations in your field. This will provide you with networking opportunities and like-minded individuals who are able to provide you with industry specific information and advice.

The student workforce readiness survey also found that less than one-third of students said career services on campus were effective. Only 14 percent reported using career services frequently, with nearly a quarter saying they never used career services.

EMU has the University Advising Career Development Center and it offers a variety of services that include career advising, mock interviews, and job search strategies.

The University Advising & Career Development Center is located on campus at 200 McKenny Hall and you can call them to set up an appointment at (734) 487-0400.


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