March 23rd 2019
BY GERALD M. BRADSHAW
Bradshaw College Consulting
Dear Mr Bradshaw,
I am a junior in high school. Like most of my friends, I have worked hard and want to get the most out of my college experience so that I can
get a good job after graduation. I am leaning toward majoring in electrical engineering. I have taken all of the advanced placement math
classes that are offered at my school and have top grades.
While I have confidence that I can do well no matter where I go to school, I need to know how I can determine which colleges and universities
offer the best job prospects for their graduates.
Signed, Future Engineer
Colleges' job placement statistics can be difficult to find
Dear Future Engineer,
High schools today do a good job of preparing students for college academically. Mentoring a student through the college selection process is a
role that typically falls on the shoulders of guidance counselors. Most counselors have several years of teaching experience before becoming a
counselor and because of their experience in the classroom they are adept at recommending the appropriate classes to take in order to prepare
students for college.
However, tracking stats on what colleges boast the best job placement records in certain professions is generally not a part of their expertise.
Most high school counselors rely on state surveys that track hiring trends by job category, but not by specific companies or schools attended.
You are ahead of the game in that you have chosen a potential major and have career aspirations. This should make your college class
selection to fulfill your degree requirements forthright. And, your major is among those that show the highest percentage of student applicants
who had at least one job offer by the time they graduate.
Because of this I would recommend that you check out the career development or placement offices of the schools you choose. Ask about
their job placement data. You will find that many colleges do not make this information easily available. Some lower-tier colleges do not even
track this data. The placement office should be able to document who is hiring and which one of their school’s majors will command the best
Once you have been granted admission you will find that career development offices have a number of tools to assess your acumen in your
chosen field and suggest career opportunities should you waver in your choice. They are also responsible for holding job fairs where potential
employers visit the campus to recruit students and often have a hand in helping to select students for internships in their chosen fields. Make
sure that you jump at the chance of an internship should it be offered.
Career services offices will also be helpful in helping you to decide whether graduate school is a viable option based upon your career
aspirations and academic record.
Keep in mind that career development or placement offices at top colleges require prospective employers of their graduates to report extensive
profiles on the students they hire, including a listing of majors, GPA, SAT scores, and starting salaries. The best colleges track this information
going back five years and it is easily available to the public in open reference binders. Make the career development or placement office a stop
during your campus tours and you won’t be disappointed later on. My best advice is to do in-depth research on placement statistics for each of
the colleges of your choice.
There is a lot of data online, and you should not be shy about asking questions. It is best to call or visit the
schools you want to apply to in person and insist upon receiving written proof of which employers hire their graduates. You will also want to
see a full disclosure document on graduate starting salaries. Do not let the office sidetrack you with anecdotal evidence or tell you that this
information is confidential. The same process holds true for obtaining graduate school placement data.
Gerald Bradshaw is a top US college admissions consultant with Bradshaw College Consulting.
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