#NACACreads Author: Career Exploration Crucial to Post-College Success

thereislifeaftercollegeGood grades are no longer enough to secure post-graduation employment for a growing number of young Americans.

And as the job market evolves, the country’s high schools and colleges must adapt to ensure students are prepared to navigate the increasingly complex world of work, according to participants in Tuesday’s #NACACreads discussion.

The Twitter chat centered on findings included in There Is Life After College, Jeffrey Selingo’s latest book. Selingo — formerly an editor at The Chronicle of Higher Education and a featured speaker at NACAC’s upcoming national conference —urged participants to rethink the way senior year of high school and freshman year of college are structured.

“Students need more transition time to explore careers & what jobs are really like,” Selingo tweeted during the chat.

Such exploration is especially important for low-income students, Selingo noted.

“In the end, students pick careers that are familiar to them,” he tweeted. “That worries me for 1st gen students, in particular.”

Participation in postsecondary education is at an all-time high. But national data cited in Selingo’s book show that half of college graduates in their 20s are underemployed.

Counselors and admission professionals from across the nation addressed the importance internships play in post-graduate outcomes during Tuesday’s #NACACreads chat. In a competitive job market, employers are looking for candidates who have already learned from failures or hardships on the job.

“Being accountable to somebody higher up the ladder and learning from those who are more experienced” are invaluable experiences for young people, noted Vicki Bellamy, an Independent Educational Consultant from Virginia.

Internships can also help students discover when career paths aren’t a good fit — saving precious time and money, said Peter Konwerski, vice provost and dean of student affairs at George Washington University (DC).

Work experience can help “rule out fields families may want students to study,” he tweeted. “Law/Med school is a steep price for unknown.”

Read a full transcript of the chat and learn more about #NACACreads.

Admitted writer/editor Mary Stegmeir welcomes additional comments and story ideas at mstegmeir@nacacnet.org.

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