About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 2058-2065
Publication year: 2011
ISBN: 978-84-615-0441-1
ISSN: 2340-1117

Conference name: 3rd International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 4-6 July, 2011
Location: Barcelona, Spain

WHAT’S IN YOUR TOOL KIT – HELPING UNDERGRADUATES MAKE THE TRANSITION TO THE REAL WORLD

R. Palmer, M. Teed

Bishop's University (CANADA)
The purpose of this study was to determine the various strategies used to help students or graduates transition into the workforce. Graduates have been encountering increased difficulties in finding full-time employment after their studies, which can consequently have a negative impact on their personal wellbeing. Although several factors could be linked to their unemployment (e.g., economical downturn, lack of motivation), several students feel that universities have failed in helping them transition into the workforce. Given the fact that more students are being accepted into graduate school, the skills necessary for students who entered the workforce directly after graduation and those that entered a graduate program are quite different.

In the past, providing students with workshops on job searching, resume building, and interviewing was seen as being adequate to prepare them for undertaking post-graduate life. Unfortunately, due to the increased challenges and options facing students today, it is no longer sufficient in helping them transition to life after university. Past research on transitioning from university indicates that graduates face 3 key issues after leaving university: 1) they have difficulties transitioning from a university to work culture, 2) they have a lack of experience and skills which are required by employers, and 3) they have inaccurate expectations about the workforce (Gardner & Lambert, 1993; Graham & McKenzie, 1995; Perrone & Vickers, 2003, Wendlant and Rochlen, 2008; Association of Canadian Community Colleges (ACCC) & Canadian Association for University Continuing Education (CAUCE), 2003).

Using a sample of graduates from a small, liberal education college in Canada, information was obtained from 5 years of graduates using an online survey questionnaire. Information was obtained on their behavior 4 months immediately upon graduation and their current status (for those persons that graduated more than 1 year from research study). In addition, information was obtained across multiple disciplines, thus allowing for differences to identified across domains. After two weeks of data collection, a sample size of 703 respondents was collected and analyzed.

In terms of results, all students relied on advice from faculty when seeking advice on future career options (82%). Less than 20% of students used formal career counseling services. Those persons that used career counseling services did not obtain full-time employment or higher salaries as compared to those persons that did not use those services. Those persons that attended grad school immediately after graduation made on average 23% higher salaries upon entering the work force. Significant differences were also found across disciplines in relation to job preparation skills (self-assessed), income, and graduate school admissions.

In terms of discussion, clearly, professors are the main information source used by students. This could be due to familiarity with the professor(s), easily accessible, perceived competency in the field, and/or the ability to provide immediate feedback. Formal programs need to be developed and training provided to faculty on advising students on career planning and/or tools needed to make the transition easier from university.
@InProceedings{PALMER2011WHA,
author = {Palmer, R. and Teed, M.},
title = {WHAT’S IN YOUR TOOL KIT – HELPING UNDERGRADUATES MAKE THE TRANSITION TO THE REAL WORLD},
series = {3rd International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies},
booktitle = {EDULEARN11 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-615-0441-1},
issn = {2340-1117},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Barcelona, Spain},
month = {4-6 July, 2011},
year = {2011},
pages = {2058-2065}}
TY - CONF
AU - R. Palmer AU - M. Teed
TI - WHAT’S IN YOUR TOOL KIT – HELPING UNDERGRADUATES MAKE THE TRANSITION TO THE REAL WORLD
SN - 978-84-615-0441-1/2340-1117
PY - 2011
Y1 - 4-6 July, 2011
CI - Barcelona, Spain
JO - 3rd International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
JA - EDULEARN11 Proceedings
SP - 2058
EP - 2065
ER -
R. Palmer, M. Teed (2011) WHAT’S IN YOUR TOOL KIT – HELPING UNDERGRADUATES MAKE THE TRANSITION TO THE REAL WORLD, EDULEARN11 Proceedings, pp. 2058-2065.
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