Today’s College Students Have New Demands from Institutions

What made your no. 1 college choice stand out from the rest?

Over the last 45 years, the most popular factor in choosing the right college is still the institution’s academic reputation, according to the Chronicle. However, according to preliminary evidence from a new study by the Cooperative Institutional Research Program, today’s college students have many changing factors and demands than students did 40 years ago.

With only 54 percent of Americans between the ages of 18 and 24 employed, it’s no wonder why many college students are placing more value on a college’s track record for placing alumni in well-paying careers after graduation than they did 40 years ago. Other findings of the study also reflect how the economy has changed the way young adults approach college. Of the students surveyed, 42 percent plan on pursuing a master’s degree and only one in five believe their higher education will end with a bachelor’s degree (which has dropped from three in five in 1972).

Whether from the push for more innovation or from the fact that there are just more technological jobs available than 40 years ago, more students are pursuing STEM careers. However, business remains the no. 1 degree choice. Are students happier with these changes? Students’ emotional health is at record lows due to being overwhelmed, stressed, or depressed.

Even though students are placing the highest demands on an institution’s reputation to place them in a high-paying job, the reality is that many students from reputable schools don’t have jobs. Also, the rise in the amount of students pursuing graduate school can be, in part, attributed to the many students who don’t know what to do without college. Forty years ago, a new college graduate might have been able to go into the workforce and find a career that they would stay in for the next 20 years. Today’s students have to navigate a new, tough workforce after graduation, and many look to the comforts of continuing their education.

Yesterday I wrote the blog “New Demands for Job-Seekers in a New Economy” where I discussed how some of today’s job-seekers must be willing to relocate and hold multiple jobs to make a living. How can you help a student start thinking realistically about the changing demands of the world of work? What real-world experiences can they be exposed to that can help them prepare for the workforce? What responsibility do colleges have to make real-world expectations clear to freshmen?  LifeBounds book, MAJORING IN THE REST OF YOUR LIFE: Career Secrets for College Students ($13.95) shows college freshmen what the working world demands and requires so that students can begin college with their eyes wide open. Responsible universities owe undergrads this perspective starting the summer before freshmen year.

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