Why Are You Going to College
By Bob Roth
While in high school, most students begin to select a general career direction. Some make careful choices, while others leave things to chance. Either way, the process usually begins there. When college is in the offing, those young adults will attend college for a wide variety reasons. Those reasons usually fall into four distinct categories: Parents, Career, Money and Interests.
Parents frequently try to steer their children into college. These parents generally recognize that many corporate employers now consider the college degree to be a requirement for administrative, supervisory, technical and management positions. However, college is not right for everyone. Some students aren’t ready. Others are better suited for careers in areas where a college education is not all that useful.
Career goals can drive those students who have a specific career in mind. They may want to be an attorney, a doctor, a scientist, an accountant or a social worker, etc. Students who know where they are trying to go usually have an advantage over students who are confused and less focused. Other students may have already entered the world of work and have come to recognize that their career progress may depend on obtaining a degree in their specialty or perhaps in business and management. Such students may attend college on a part-time basis, often at night or on weekends.
Money affects the decisions of some students. These students may select their career direction based on the amount of money they think they can make in that field. People with college degrees often hold higher positions and earn considerably more money than people without a degree, in similar positions.
Highly desirable degrees, from the most well-respected colleges, can put high performing students on a career fast track.
Other interests will motivate some students to attend college. Those interests can include a love of learning, athletics, the arts, science, politics and even friendship may come into play (to follow a girl/boyfriend) or for social reasons (meet members of the opposite sex). In other cases, students may attend college by default. These students may go to college simply because all of their friends are going or they don’t have a job and don’t have a better alternative.
Ultimately, upon graduation from college, most young adults will be starting a new job, going on to Graduate School or seeking a full-time job. And so,the reason that most students are going to college is to obtain the knowledge, wisdom, experience and successes that will impress potential employers and help them land a good job or get into Graduate School.If students and parents accept this statement, the question then becomes, what can students do to impress potential employers or help them get into Graduate School?And so, if students want to improve the odds for being successful after graduation, they must make the most of the entire four-year college experience.
Employers and Graduate Schools look for seven things:
- Academic success usually means a “B” average or better. Many employers and Graduate Schools will not even consider you if you don’t meet their academic standards.
- The quality of your college education refers to the rating, reputation and status of your college.
- A well-rounded college experience.
– Participation in clubs and athletic activities
– Work experience
– Community activities
– Campus events and activities
– Willingness to try things
- Successes, accomplishments and results.
– Leadership roles and experiences in your area of interest
– Demonstrated strengths that differentiate you from others
– Communication skills (speak, write, present, listen, teach, etc.)
– Examples of competence with technology and computers
– Ability to build relationships and function in a team environment
– Examples of having accepted responsibility
– Ability to overcome obstacles
– Willingness to be held accountable
- A powerful resume that presents the student’s assets and capabilities.
- Outstanding communication and interviewing skills.
- Strong references from professors, advisors, coaches, employers, community leaders and other impressive people.
These seven items are the keys to success as students attempt to enter the world of work or be accepted to a desirable Graduate School. If students want their careers to get off on the best foot after college, each student should keep these items in the forefront, as they progress through their college experience.