Campus News

Study: Colleges not teaching what employers are looking for

By Rachel Ungerleider

As the school year comes to a close, the next set of students prepare to graduate and make a move from the college life into the real world. The biggest step in this process is finding a job. Fresh out of school graduates are looking for a chance to make it in the real world, but for many employers, the idea of hiring “fresh meat” might be a scary thought for them, for several reasons.

Firstly, a study by The Chronicle of Higher Education reported that, of the employers who hired recent college graduates, the most important factor they considered was past experience: internships and jobs.

This makes sense, but are colleges promoting this in their students?

With more pressure to graduate on time, and with an acceptable GPA, college staff are leaning more weight on academics, and less on the experience that employers want.

Furthermore, professors and advisors encourage focusing on a specific major – but this isn’t what students need. In fact, The Chronicle also noted that employers are seeking more “broadly educated” students – not ones who are trained to do a single, specific task. They want students who have leadership, writing, and communication skills: not ones who know a whole lot about math or accounting.

Many employers cite promotion as a reason for wanting such a broad general education under their employee’s belts. At an entry level, you may be doing exactly what your major intended you to do: but what happens when you are promoted to a managerial position? Job candidates need to be versatile and able to make this change seamlessly.

General education, and internships and work experience teach students more than can be taught in the classroom. You are introduced to a world where you expand your skills of working with others and familiarized in the field in which you will potentially work. In the end, despite the heavy weight we put on grades and academics, the real importance that employers are looking for comes from the experience we gain out in the real world, and what we learn outside of our majors.

Michelle Adams contributed to this report.

Feature photo courtesy of CollegeCounselingConnecticut

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