While most millennials highly value their college education and degree, a notable 40 percent wish they had done more to prepare for their careers during college, according to a new survey.

The Millennial College Graduate Report details key insights into millennials’ level of satisfaction with their academic experience and preparation for careers.

The study finds that contrary to a frequent narrative that has been reported in recent years, a majority of college graduates value the education that they received. Most also report that their degrees prepared them for employment and they would not change the decision they made to attend college.

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“While the majority of recent college graduates believe that their education brought them value in obtaining employment, there remains a large minority that hold some reservations about the career preparation aspect,” says Dr. Larry Chiagouris, the report’s director. “If you consider that most companies would not be pleased to learn that more than a third of their customer base holds some form of negative perception, it’s clear that there is a path to improvement in this area.”

The survey also reveals that a sizable minority hold less than positive views about their education, indicating that there is more work to be done by colleges and students to obtain greater career-related value from their education. In many instances, millennials acknowledge their own culpability in not taking more advantage of career services, advice from professors and internships.

The survey was conducted among 1,023 millennial college graduates. Key findings include:

• Two-thirds of respondents agreed that obtaining a degree prepared them for employment and about 61 percent would recommend the college that they graduated from to friends or colleagues.
• However, more than 33 percent of the respondents agreed that their college over-promised and under delivered how well prepared they would be for employment after graduation.
• The responsibility for career progress, or lack of it, also resides with the graduates. Only about half of respondents made extensive efforts to seek career advice from their professors and only 40 percent fully utilized the services offered to them through their college/university career services department.
• 58 percent stated that they wish they had taken more advantage of internship opportunities during their college years and 69 percent admitted they did not do enough career planning before accepting their first job.

“College and university leaders will want to continue the valuable work they are doing to achieve higher levels of satisfaction among graduates,” says Caryl Watkins, director of the Center for Career and Professional Development at the College of Staten Island. “This is crucial even if the graduates’ dissatisfaction is a result of not being more proactive in seeking career-related guidance in college. We encourage greater student engagement with career services, and appreciate that, by doing so, higher education leaders can ensure that the next generation of graduates gains even more value.”

“This is why, at our university and at others across the U.S., we are working hard to engage students with career services as early as freshman year so that their outcomes will be highly satisfactory when they look back at their college careers,” says Dr. Jessica Hayes, chief of staff and university relations, Long Island University. “We encourage them to take advantage of the many career related options available and want them to become advocates of the value of a college education.”

Material from a press release was used in this report.

About the Author:

Laura Ascione

Laura Ascione is the Managing Editor, Content Services at eSchool Media. She is a graduate of the University of Maryland's prestigious Philip Merrill College of Journalism. Find Laura on Twitter: @eSN_Laura

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