This study was prepared in response to a disconnect that exists between how employers and higher education leaders view college graduates’ preparation for the workforce. A potential solution to the perceived skills gap and preparation for the workforce “…is to help students make better-informed decisions about their choice of major when selecting the field of student. [To better understand how to close this gap],, Gallup and Strada conducted a nationally representative survey of currently enrolled college students to address [the following] questions [in the spring of 2017]” (p.1):
- “once enrolled, how confident are students that they are being prepared to succeed in the workplace?
- What role does field of study or student age and year in school play in those assessments?
- Additionally, how do students use and value university resources that are designed to help them explore career and academic options — like academic advisers and the career services office?” (p.1).
“The survey includes responses from 32,585 currently enrolled college students from 43 randomly selected colleges and universities and is representative of four-year, degree-granting U.S. institutions in terms of control (public vs. private institutions) and enrollment size” (p.1).
“Results for this…College Student Survey are based on web surveys conducted March 21-May 8, 2017, as part of [a]…study of currently enrolled college students” (p.28).(Abstractor: Author and Website Staff)
Major Findings & Recommendations
“Key findings include: 1. Student confidence in their workforce preparation differs across majors” (p.2). 2. “Nontraditional students feel more prepared than traditional students” (p.2). 3. “Students who receive career-specific support feel most prepared for the workforce” (p.2). 4. “Nearly four in 10 students have never visited their school’s career services office or used online career resources, including more than one-third of seniors” (p.2). 5. “Career services resources are particularly helpful for underrepresented and underserved student populations” (p.3). 6. “Students receive helpful advice about courses and programs from academic advisers, but less so about careers and postgraduate options” (p.3). 7. “Advising is most helpful to underrepresented and underserved student populations” (p.3). “The findings of this report offer actionable and achievable ways that universities can improve students’ confidence in their readiness for the workforce. Encouraging faculty and staff to initiate conversations with students about potential career options may expose students to ideas and career options they had not previously considered, while perhaps also helping faculty to understand how they can make more direct links between students’ coursework and their future careers. Likewise, universities can push students to seek out conversations with faculty members about career options. In doing so, universities open a dialogue between faculty and students about the relationship between academic studies and future careers — one that stands to benefit all parties. This research can also help educators understand that an emphasis on quality career services and academic advising, while inherently beneficial to all students, can be particularly useful in serving underrepresented and underserved student populations. Black and Hispanic students, as well as first-generation and nontraditional students, are more likely than their peers to benefit from the guidance that these services provide…. [I]t is…critically important that underserved and underrepresented students receive the guidance they need to progress and complete their degree poised to succeed after graduation. Schools’ career services departments and academic advising programs appear to be particularly important conduits for this type of support, and institutions prioritizing their effectiveness will be better positioned to serve the students who most need that support” (p.27). (Abstractor: Author and Website Staff)