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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

Colleges add career coaches: Students say 'career success' is a priority

Colleges are adding career counselors and urging students to start career planning early, reports Hechinger's Jon Marcus. Some are placing advisors in academic departments or "career communities," expanding mentoring and strengthening alumni networks.


Will I be able to repay my student loans?

The motivation is clear: Colleges are competing for a smaller number of young people amid growing concerns that college provides an uncertain return on investment.


"Career success" is "the top reason people give for getting a degree," according to a Lightcast survey. While 82 percent of college graduates were satisfied with their educational experience, only 44 percent said the degree "was worth the student loan debt."


"Fewer than one in five of the graduates in that Lightcast survey strongly agreed with the statements that their universities and colleges had invested in their careers and helped them understand career opportunities, create career plans and network with employers or alumni," Marcus writes.

“There are some faculty who say that learning is for the sake of learning — that they’re not here to talk about careers,” said Elizabeth Soady, associate director of professional development for arts and sciences at the University of Richmond, which has also expanded its career services. But others “are keyed into that bigger national conversation about return on investment.”

Some employers are dropping degree requirements for jobs in favor of hiring for job skills, also known as “competencies.”


Career counselors are trying to help students explain to employers what job skills -- known as "competencies" -- they're learning in class. For example, humanities majors might argue they've learned critical thinking and public speaking, said Renée Cramer, provost at Dickinson College.


Employers recruiting for skills rather than degrees are "five times more likely to find a high-performance employee," according to a McKinsey report, writes Alcino Donadel in

University Business. But many students don't know how to identify what they've learned that might be valued in the workforce.

One in five graduates said their college didn’t provide them with needed job skills, in a Cengage survey.

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16 Comments


JK Brown
JK Brown
Nov 28, 2023

Real career planning for students would be steering them toward the trades. They can go to college later. Since marriage is coming later in life, having family is no longer the cutoff it use to be for going back to college


The United States has an aging population. By 2034, our country is projected to have more folks over 50 than under 18 for the first time ever. About half of all trade workers already are over 50 years old, and the physical demands of these jobs often lead to retirement in the 50s or slightly beyond. More and more skilled trade workers are needed to replenish their ranks. This is good news for anyone seeking a career in the…
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JK Brown
JK Brown
Nov 29, 2023
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Boys benefit from learning to do something useful. That is why they have so much trouble in school where utility is not part of the choices of what is taught. In any case, jobs of the future are in keeping the lights, computers, water and HVAC on for the "knowledge workers". Professor "Missy" Cummings of Duke engineering predicts job growth of the future in "robot mechanics". Lots of robots, so few who can keep them running. Your car being one of the items in this category.


College edumedicated women will just have to adapt to having a man who gets his hands dirty or remain single. I'm sure they'll vote for politicians who will seek to draft and enslave hand…


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Bruce Smith
Bruce Smith
Nov 26, 2023

By contrast, if a study counsellor were to guide pupils, as early as eighth grade, about their choices of mathematics beginning in the following year, they might be on their way towards better educational outcomes, such as those available through university college institute faculty department programmes like MIT's chemical-biological engineering, where they are explicitly published (and which is the default direction towards which One World Schools Activity guides students, until they determine more individually what their particular talents and inclinations are).

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superdestroyer
Nov 28, 2023
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I have joked to many researchers who study why women do not go into engineering, physics, or computer science that is is the way that the subjects are taught. A bright successful female high school graduate may want to major in physics or chemical engineering but will almost automatically change her major after making a B or lower in any class. Male students will take the academic "punch" and keep going.

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JK Brown
JK Brown
Nov 25, 2023

If you are a white male, corporations are hiring fewer and fewer of "your kind" so college credentials are even less valuable. Even if they hire, they've not promoted for decades. Scott Adams tells of two jobs he left after being told they couldn't promote him because he was male and white. Got to get those demo numbers up. Anyone think it's better today compared to before Dilbert made it big?


Colleges have a problem, for 50+ years those who would have been successful regardless of going to college have gone to college due to the marketing and presumption. But today, those people are increasingly turning away from wasted years of the college "indoctrination" experience and the student loan deb…


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Richard Rider
Richard Rider
Dec 01, 2023
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The key phrase is that such counselors "SHOULD be able to guide students . . . ." Given the policies of todays uber-woke colleges, I don't see those COLLEGE EMPLOYED counselors warning their students of the dangers of working for large woke corporations and nonprofits. Guidance IS needed, but it needs to be INDEPENDENT from the woke mindset.

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