Leveraging Education Abroad for Student Career Development & Employability

Research Finds Campus Career Services Valued Mostly by Minority/First Gen/Nontraditional Students

Findings from a 2017 Strada-Gallup student survey provide a perspective on which students appear to derive the most benefit from their campus career service offices: http://stradaeducation.gallup.com/reports/225161/2017-strada-gallup-college-student-survey.aspx   The survey results are based on responses from over 32,000 currently enrolled students at 43 public and private four-year institutions.

A critical factor impacting a students’ decision to go to college is employability. Whereas, 73% of incoming freshmen/women between 2000 & 2009 said this was true, between 2010-2017, this number jumped to 86%.  How well do campuses meet these high expectations?  It depends…:

  1. Student confidence in their workforce preparation differs across majors:  STEM majors – no surprise- are the most confident that they’ll find employment; yet, students in education, social work & criminal justice report the highest confidence they’ll graduate with the skills and knowledge needed for successful workforce outcomes.
  2. Nontraditional students (those aged 24 & older) feel more prepared than traditional students:  Evidence of their confidence is that 7 in 10 chose their major prior to enrolling.
  3. Students who received career-specific support feel most prepared: And this reflects initiatives on many campuses to begin career planning activities in the first year-or even before arrival on campus.  As is the case with successful career integration initiatives for students going abroad, a holistic campus approach to preparing students for successful post-graduation employability elicits confidence among students that they will succeed.
  4. As has been shown in other studies, only 39% of students in this survey had ever visited their career service office. Surprisingly, only 35% of seniors had done so.
  5. However, students who were most satisfied in the guidance they received from career services were from underserved and underrepresented student populations.
  6. Sadly, in my opinion, only 28% say their academic advisors were very helpful in identifying career options or even graduate degree programs (30%).

The good news in this survey, from a Global Career Compass perspective, is that career services is so highly valued by students with the least personal and family resources. This may bode well for efforts to boost the numbers of these students in study abroad programs.  That is, IF career advisors are well trained to build a strong case for the employability benefits which accrue through international experience. And IF campuses provide the necessary financial support to make it possible for these students to even consider going abroad. 

Categorised in: Career Decision-Making, Integration of Study Abroad & Career Service Advising

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