A recent Gallup report found that only 53 percent of current college students are confident in their major’s ability to lead to a good job.
The report also found a 22 percent disparity in the confidence between STEM students — those in science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields — and liberal arts students in getting a good job, and a 7 percent disparity in their confidence to graduate with the necessary skills to be successful in the job market.
“I would say this is a problem I generally see at UT,” computer science senior David Ares said. “The biggest thing I’ve heard CS majors be afraid about isn’t whether they’ll find a job, but finding the perfect job.”
Unlike Ares, the lack of confidence in future job security caused freshman Briana Rocha to want to switch from international relations and global studies to international nutrition.
“I started questioning myself, because as a liberal arts major I received a lot of backlash and I felt it would be very difficult to go and find a job,” Rocha said. “International nutrition just provides that secure path.”
Government sophomore Becky Rigas undertook a different journey by switching from mechanical engineering to government.
“(The engineering advisors) kind of didn’t understand why I wanted to change my major,” Rigas said. “But for what I want to do, I really do believe I’ll have the knowledge and skills to find success in the work place and that my degree is adequately preparing me.”
Each college at UT provides their own career services including resume-building, workshops and coaches. According to the Gallup poll, students who received career-specific support from their university showed greater confidence in their options after graduation. However, at UT, not all students take advantage of the resources provided to them.
“Unfortunately, there are a lot of resources available out there and sometimes I’m not sure if students are aware of them,” said Melissa Totah, a liberal arts corporate career coach. “Hopefully, we can figure out the best ways to market that information.”
Gallup suggested universities provide faculty members with information on making their course skills more applicable to those in the workforce and encourage staff to talk to students about their career options.
“Students spend some time finding their own way,” said Peter Thomas, a professor for the Department of Marine Science. “But, I do believe it is important to talk to students about their options.”