Do not become one of the thousands of students going off to acquire a very expensive college education only to find themselves 4-6 years later unable to find a job and thousands of dollars in student loan debt. A recent study by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools, “Closing the Gap between Career Education & Employer Expectations” found that:

  • Only 7 percent of employers believe that colleges do an “Excellent” job in preparing students for the workplace with 39 percent indicating that students are “Fairly” of “Poorly” prepared
  • Only 16 percent of employers believe that applicants are “Very Well Prepared” while 21 percent indicate that applicants are “Unprepared”
  • 54 percent indicated difficulty in finding applicants with the necessary skills and knowledge

Most employers believe that college students simply fail to adequately prepare themselves to enter the workplace. They do not take the necessary classes to prepare for the workplace, they barely receive passing grades in classes such as business writing, Statistics, Calculus, and business communications, they do not gain the necessary job experience while in college, and they do not take advantage of the many summer internship opportunities available to them.

When selecting colleges today, students should be focused on where the jobs will be when they receive their degrees. Students should more carefully select the type of classes they take in college and the type of internships they experienced each summer to best prepare them for the job market after graduating from college. Students should keep in mind that a college degree only has value if the person holding the degree can bring value to an employer’s organization.

I received my BS from Northeastern University, which has one of the largest cooperative education programs in the world. At graduation, I had 18 months of full-time on-the-job experience with Andersen Consulting and found myself highly recruited by such companies as Andersen Consulting (now Accenture)Price Waterhouse CoopersTouche and Deloitte, and IBM. I eventually accepted a job offer with the IBM General Products Division in San Jose, California as a systems design engineer.

College Co-op Programs provide an excellent opportunity for students to gain a significant competitive edge upon graduation. Students may learn about cooperative education programs at the National Commission on Cooperative Education website and the NASA Co-Op Education Program website. When considering potential colleges ask about the types of employers participating in their cooperative education program, available internships, and visit the college’s recruitment office to see the type of jobs their graduates are entering into and the types of companies that they are working for.