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Liberal Arts Grad = Starbucks Barista?

Four years of college for this? Photo: Phoenix New Times.

There’s the way the world should be. And there’s the way it actually is. It’s only sometimes that they are the same.

The Mount Holyoke News reports that liberal arts graduates are less likely to be recruited for jobs. According to a Wall Street Journal article about which colleges and universities recruiters favor:

The highest ranking schools on the list were Pennsylvania State University, Texas A&M University and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign—big public state universities with undergraduate enrollments of over 30,000 students.

Along with most other top-tier schools, MHC didn’t make the list. And the only Ivy that did make the list was Cornell.

The MH News article goes on at great length about liberal arts graduates’ learning abilities, versatility, and analytical thinking. And those qualities aren’t entirely worthless in the job market, according to ’07 graduate Maya Pillai:

Employers love liberal arts students for the flexibility in approach and easy adaptability to all kinds of jobs; and with the reputation MHC students have, employability rarely depends on just liberal arts vs. the regular schools,” she said.

Steve Koppi, director of the Career Development Center, urged students “not to believe the media hype:”

Koppi cited the NACE’s Job Outlook 2009 survey. According to the survey, the top five personal qualities employers look for are: communication skills (verbal and written) strong work ethic, teamwork skills (works well with others), initiative, and analytical skills. “All skills and abilities developed through a liberal education, like we offer at MHC,” Koppi said.

All true. We’ve got to believe in ourselves and that we’ve got a chance. We’ve got to value the knowledge, skills, and abilities that we’ve developed. That’s no guarantee of success, but sitting in a corner and crying is a guarantee of failure.

But I’d be less than honest if I pretended that the job market wasn’t scary. As intimidated as I am about starting med school, that’s not as intimidating as looking for a job after graduation.


Copyright 2011 by Rinth de Shadley.

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