Each student's pathway to graduation varies, but what types of activities will lead to better outcomes? Some students do not start their job search until graduation is right around the corner, while others may start a year before.
EAB, a higher education consulting firm, conducted a survey involving 6,000+ recent graduates from five large public schools to learn which experiences and decisions lead to better student outcomes. "Post-graduate outcomes" does not have a standard definition, so their data scientists developed a generally accepted definition they call "EAB's Gainful Employment Score".
This score includes four factors, as outlined below:
- Is the person currently employed?
- Is a bachelor's degree required for their job?
- Is their salary comparable to others with similar titles?
- How satisfied are they in their position?
51 variables were taken into consideration. These were included if they had an adequate sample size and coverage throughout each school. They were organized into six categories - student characteristics, social background, academic achievements, job experience, and job search activities. The survey focused on what factors the student could control. The top three insights are outlined below.
Search earlier, get hired sooner
Students who started their job search 6-12 months before graduation had a 10% Gainful Employment Score, as opposed to students who started later. Undergraduates who started more than a year before graduation had a score of 15%. Out of the 50+ variables, the timing of the start of students job search had the biggest effect on positive outcomes. Most students are waiting longer than ideal to start their job search. They found only 16% started a year out, while 34% started 6-12 months before graduation.
Although difficult, early communication with employers is effective
EAB's research found internships to be the second-most critical factor for successful student outcomes. Students who had paid internships were 14% more likely to receive good jobs after graduation. Among the surveyed students, 32% had internships. Although only 29% of students surveyed went to on-campus recruiting events with potential employers, it proved they were 13% more likely to receive a good job, as opposed to those who didn't. Informing students is key. When schools integrate career planning and advising, they can better inform students about the importance of internships and career fairs.
Students should be involved in extracurricular activities
Although there were a lot of variables to test in this field of the survey, co-curricular involvement, or experience that mirror a student's academic curriculum, led to a 5-15% Gainful Employment Score. These activities can range from Greek life to academic clubs. This was the third most effective way to increase employability.
The findings of this survey conclude students need more guidance on what activities and electives they should partake in before graduation to have even greater post-graduate outcomes. CSM by Symplicity is the solution for implementing this level of synchronization between team members by connecting all career services staff members to one database. On the student interface side, CSM’s offerings are invaluable for students wishing to optimize their chances of success. CSM offers students access to a network of 400,000 active employers that includes 89% of Fortune 100 companies. The Pathways module has been designed to boost student engagement, allow Career advisors to set up structured paths for student skill development, and easily measure the success of these plans. On the analytics side, institutions are able to easily obtain reports in a visual format on student pathway completion and measure the success of the initiative. In addition, analytics from pathways can be combined in a unique report with data from other areas of CSM.
Some of the most commonly used cases of Pathways are for:
- Targeted career plans for your students
- Custom workflows
- Employability awards & certifications
- Preparation checklists
Symplicity is the global market leader of cloud-based solutions in higher education. At Symplicity, we are deeply committed to partnering with the higher education community to redefine student and institutional success by breaking down departmental silos and leveraging Symplicity’s smart, innovative technology. With over 20 years and working with more than 1300 offices globally, Symplicity’s goal is to help create the most user-friendly and exciting experience for students, faculty, and staff.