Colleges and universities are spending too much time admitting students and not enough time on the exit process after the last finals are handed in and the graduation caps tossed. And as more students who see college as a step toward upward economic mobility pursue higher education, the risk that young people will be left flailing in an economy where post-secondary education is more critical than ever stands to grow. That’s particularly true for young people who come from families unfamiliar with the process.
One place where more colleges could help ease the transition from school to the workforce is the career-services office. According to a new Gallup-Purdue Index, only about half of college graduates visited that office on their campus, and alarmingly few found it very helpful.
The new report is part of a broader multi-year effort by Gallup, Purdue University, and the Lumina Foundation (which provides funding to The Atlantic’s Next America project) to look at how people with bachelor’s degrees in the United States are faring. More specifically, they wanted to figure out who had been successful and why, so that colleges would have a better idea of how to serve students.
The results of the latest survey suggest that improving career counseling might be a good place for schools to focus at least some of their attention. “I think it’s a wake-up call for all of our students, parents, and higher-education institutions to say are we putting as much effort into helping students successfully exit college as we are into getting them into college,” said Brandon Busteed, Gallup’s head of education and workforce development, during a phone interview.