Even though the number of students who use Undergraduate Career Services continues to rise, UCS peer counselors said students do not seem concerned about difficulty finding employment in the current job market.
Several counselors attributed the increased use of UCS services to outreach efforts and better publicity. They also said they think more underclassmen, not just seniors, are finding the system helpful.
“I don’t think people seem that concerned [with the job market],” peer counselor Colleen Carey ’04 said. She said she thinks many seniors have not set specific goals for their employment and feel confident that they will find something that satisfies them.
Peer counselor Alicia Washington ’05 said she has not seen pessimism among the students she works with and that students seem more nervous about the prospect of graduation in general than they are about employment.
The perception that students may be feeling more optimistic this year is consistent with a survey conducted in November by the National Association of Colleges and Employers. Among other things, the study asked employers of college graduates to characterize the job market. While 57 percent of the employers characterized the market as “fair,” 34 percent called it “good” — up from 29 percent last year. Directors of the survey said the results of their study indicate progress toward a better job market for the class of 2004.
Despite students’ more relaxed attitude toward finding employment this year — a mindset some peer counselors attributed to brightening economic prospects and increased hiring in such traditional areas as investment banking — more students are taking advantage of the UCS system than in previous years.
“When I was a freshman, not many people were using UCS, but this year it’s really increased,” peer counselor Amsalu Dabela ’04 said.
Dabela is in her second year as a peer counselor. She said increased publicity, helped by liaisons to each residential college dean’s office, has raised student awareness of UCS events.
While seniors have traditionally been considered the main users of UCS, Washington said the number of underclassmen who work with UCS to search for summer internships is also on the rise. She said she expects the trend to continue when shopping period ends and students give more consideration to their summer plans.
Peer counselor Matthew Schlenker ’05 said the UCS Web site, which includes a new job search feature that was implemented last February, has also attracted more students. But he said it is easier for students who have set what are considered more typical career goals to use UCS.
“It would be nice if there was a little more variety,” Schlenker said. He said accessing some career options, such as work with non-profits, can be frustrating for students because such organizations may not have the same recruiting resources as investment banking firms, which constitute the majority of on-campus interview programs.
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