Recent survey on student preparation suggests lack of confidence, not lack of skills

Posted on January 26th, 2018

The Strada-Gallup 2017 College Student Survey declares that “college students do not feel prepared for the workforce.” 

Brandon Busteed who directs Gallup’s higher education research tells Inside Higher Ed, “Students are not nearly as prepared as they could or should be, and they actually know it while they’re in college.”

Gallup asked for the degree of agreement using a 5-point scale from 1, meaning “strongly disagree” up to 5, meaning “strongly agree” on three statements:

1. I am confident I will graduate with the knowledge and skills I need to be successful in the job market.

2. I am confident I will graduate with the knowledge and skills I need to be successful in the workplace.

3. I am confident my major field of study/studies will lead to a good job.

Gallup focused on the top-box (percent giving “5”) for each statement, emphasizing only about a third strongly agree with the first two statements, and just over half with the third.

The Gallup report has some useful things to say about the importance of faculty and staff in helping students understand how their educations relate to future employment, but this appears to be less a matter of specific services, and more about attitudes and beliefs, inducing students to trust that they’ve acquired the skills and experiences which will help them transition from school to work.

Like a lot of these accountability related concerns about higher ed, they seem to be more prevalent when applied to non-elite institutions and students.

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