Not many students actually get to pursue a career related to their major. In 2013, a study by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York found that only 27 percent of college graduates work at a job closely related to their major.
While UT’s career counseling services are, for the most part, limited to students within their respective colleges, it could be beneficial for students to use career services outside of their college.
Carson Buffett, a rhetoric and writing senior, said that she found a great job opportunity after visiting a Moody career fair. She benefited greatly from career services outside of her college. If she hadn’t explored career services outside of the College of Liberal Arts, she might have missed this opportunity. However, not all career services are open to every student.
UT’s career services offices work to meet the needs of students pursuing unconventional degrees as well as those exploring new majors. “Students may be pursuing degrees in science because they want to become a journalist and they want to write about science,” said Rachelle Hernandez, senior vice provost for enrollment management. “So as students are exploring, we want to make sure that all students have the resources to support their success.”
As a test, I visited Moody’s Communication Career Services’ website to make a career advising appointment. I could not. I asked one of my friends in Moody to try to do the same, and she had no problem accessing Moody’s career advisers and clicking through an availability schedule for each one. This is also true for other career offices on campus. A director from McCombs wrote in an email that McCombs’ career advising is only available to business students. For students exploring majors and careers outside of their degree, this might inhibit their ability to pursue these options.
Students have a lot to gain by looking for services beyond their college’s career office. Career advising enables students to explore career opportunities in a new field without necessarily committing to a new degree plan. Career advising can also help students looking to earn a minor or certificate in a school that they’re not yet enrolled in. Currently, not all students are able to access these resources.
There are some exceptions. If you have declared a certificate or minor in a college other than your major’s college, career offices are willing to provide advising services. However, for students just starting to explore options in other colleges, this prerequisite is a barrier.
UT must eliminate all barriers that prevent students from exploring majors and career options. Students should be able to access whichever career service office best fits their career ambitions, regardless of major.
Ultimately, career offices on campus are made to serve students. As students, we should use this privilege as we shape our futures. If you think an office outside your college will help you attain your goals, reach out to them. For students with less conventional degrees or students still figuring it out: Take advantage and look for ways that campus-wide career initiatives can serve you — there’s nothing to lose.
López is a rhetoric and writing junior from McAllen.