When you think about it, this one fact becomes obvious. Students who are fortunate enough to launch their careers with great jobs are the only ones who can respond in the affirmative to their College’s request for donations. For the most part, donations come from people who can afford to make a donation.
New graduates who cannot afford to live on their own, cover their expenses and have trouble paying back their student loans, are not thinking about making donations to the college from which they graduated. When students get off to a slow start after college, they will be playing catchup for a long time. Therefore, it should be obvious that few donations come from people who cannot afford to make them.
My Conclusion: Colleges can substantially improve the number and size of the donations they receive from alumni by dramatically improving their efforts to help students become fully prepared to compete for good jobs in their areas of interest.
To improve student employment success, five things are necessary:
1. Recognition of What Students Want and Need – We have known for a while that college students really want only three things:
a) A great education
b) An enjoyable college experience
c) A good job when they graduate.
Most colleges concentrate their efforts on a and b. Because many colleges come up short when it comes to c, this is an area where significant improvements can be made.
2. A Respected and Trusted Leader – To make the changes that are needed, a leader who is dedicated, respected and trusted is required. It takes a special person to bring all of the other College Leaders, Administrators, Professors, Alumni, Parents and Students together for a single cause. Additionally, that leader must be strong enough to change minds and push through the objections and problems that can interfere with forward progress.
3. A College Focused on Helping Students Land Good Jobs – Everyone in the entire college community has a role to play in student employment success. The culture of the college has to shift to where the success of students in the job market takes on a high priority, a culture where members of the campus community are recognized and rewarded for the results they achieve in this important area.
When an entire college comes together and truly wants more students to find success in the job market, great things will happen.
4. Greater Emphasis On Job Search Preparation – Students have to know what to do, develop a plan and then carry out their employment plan, as they progress through college. There are Tool Development, Research, Participation, Work and Training activities that students should be acting upon during each semester of college. When students are well prepared, the best employers will take notice. Colleges must establish the expectations and provide the guidance that students need to learn the process, take the actions and gain the experiences that lead to employment success.
5. A Willingness to Investigate and Use New Approaches – There are inexpensive materials and systems out there that can dramatically improve the preparedness of students entering the job market. Importantly, the best college leaders are willing to embrace methods and approaches that have not previously been used in their job search preparation efforts.