Much has been written about job prospects for different college majors and the unemployment rate for college graduates. A May 2013 study from the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce has been covered widely by the press. Crain's New York Business reported on the research, highlighting one data point that suggests that the unemployment rate for 22-year-old college grads is higher than 10%.
Statistics like these can add even more pressure on students as they move from high school to college to career. This important transition has always been of interest to me. Despite the many resources available in high school and college, it can seem like an overwhelming challenge to choose a career path.
With that in mind, several years ago I designed a career exploration workshop for the Harvard Secondary School program. These are high school students who come to Harvard to take courses alongside college students in the summer.
What I find most interesting is that, year after year, the questions students ask during the workshop are always the same.
Here’s a selection:
What is the biggest mistake you see undergraduates make in deciding what to do with their lives?
What classes did you enjoy most in high school or college and how does that correlate to what you do now?
What would you tell people who want to go into non-lucrative careers with costs of college rising and interest rates rising?
How can I balance my needs with what my parents want me to do?
It’s so competitive – how can someone from a ‘normal’ high school get taken seriously by a university?
Any wisdom to share based on your experience? What other questions have you heard from students? And what can we, as schools, do to help students address these questions?