When and How Do Students Engage with Career Resources

At Purposely, we have talked to many universities about their existing career services capabilities. Almost all have dedicated career services personnel who serve the student body during normal operating hours when school is in session. Some have websites that refer students to outside services for various career related topics. But few have truly integrated online tools that allow students access to all the information and resources they require whenever they need it.

Most career centers are available on campus during normal business hours – 9 to 4, 9 to 5, maybe a little longer during part of the week. Activity tends to spike as graduation nears, and is lowest during vacation periods and the summer months. Because of summers and vacations, most students attend college only eight to nine months of the year. That means career services offices are available to students for between 15 and 20% of the available hours in a year. That’s not enough.

And college students are notoriously accustomed to hours far different than the typical business. Many tend to operate during either very late or very early hours of the day, and they expect to be able to access the resources they need on their schedule. Some students are apt to focus on their career when they are far away from campus, during the summer months when they may have internships or summer jobs that pique their interest in the skills required to be relevant to employers. Yet that’s when career resources for most universities will not be available to them. Given how difficult it is to grab a student’s attention, it is imperative to extend access to career resources.

That’s one of the core solutions we offer at Purposely. Providing a comprehensive suite of career resources under a university’s brand that is available whenever and wherever a student decides to engage is a compelling way to extend the reach of a school’s career services far beyond its existing capacity.

This sort of solution does not replace career services; it augments career services and allows a university to provide virtually all the resources of the career center to more students over more time. Through its most recent survey of member institutions, NACE has determined that the average university has one career counselor for every 2400 students. Since each counselor does not meet with 2400 distinct students, it is evident that the actual number of students receiving the valuable training, support and mentoring that comes from face to face meetings is quite small. In a competitive environment for jobs, universities who provide cost effective, innovative solutions to extending the number of students who are trained in how to conduct an effective career process will ultimately be a more valuable university to attend.

Stephen Giusto
CEO of Purposely