Professors Provide Most Valued Career Advice to Grads


Story Highlights

  • Grads more often receive advice from faculty/staff outside career office
  • Nine in 10 grads receive some form of career advice before graduation
  • Faculty and staff advice more helpful than that of career services

WASHINGTON, D.C. — College graduates receive more career advice from professors than they do from career services offices on campus. They also place a higher value on the advice received from professors. While one-third of college grads say they received career advice very often or often from faculty or staff during college, 22% reported accessing or using resources through their career services office often or very often. These results are a follow-up to Strada-Gallup findings released in 2017 that showed only 52% of graduates reported physically visiting their career services office during their undergraduate experience.

Bar graph. The percentages of college grads receiving career advice from their career services or faculty and staff.

These new results are based on the Strada-Gallup Alumni Survey (formerly the Gallup-Purdue Index), conducted April 25-June 3, 2018, with more than 5,100 U.S. college graduates.

Advice Received Outside of the Career Services Office Most Helpful

Nearly half (49%) of graduates report the career-related information received from faculty and staff members outside of the career services office was very helpful or helpful, compared with 30% of those who say the same about the information they received from their career services office.

Ring graph. College graduates perceptions of the helpfulness of career advice from career services and faculty or staff.

Across All Majors, Career Services' Advice Less Helpful

Arts and humanities majors, in particular, found the career-related advice they received from faculty and staff members to be more helpful than the advice they received from the career services office. About half (46%) of arts and humanities majors report the career advice they received outside of their career services office was very helpful or helpful, compared with 22% of these majors who said the same about advice they received from the career services office.

Similarly, 48% of social sciences majors report the advice they received from faculty and staff about their career was very helpful or helpful, compared with 30% who said the same about advice and resources obtained from the career services office.

Bar graph. College grads perceptions of the helpfulness of career advice, by field of study.

Implications

Nearly all college graduates enroll in higher education to obtain a good job upon graduation. Importantly, nearly all graduates received some form of career-related advice — either from staff members within the career services office or faculty and staff outside of the office — prior to graduation. However, the frequency and quality of that advice differ tremendously based on the sources of the advice.

These results about graduates' experiences are consistent with results from the Strada-Gallup Alumni Student Survey of currently enrolled students which found that, among all services offered in the career services office, career-related advice and resources were the least helpful to students. Students reported that these offices were far more helpful to them in creating or updating their resumes, suggesting that the career services office can effectively help students based on the type of assistance needed.

The results from these studies suggest universities must develop a clear strategy about the role of the career services office. While career services offices can arm students with strong resumes and help them find and apply for jobs, professors are a more valued conduit for guiding students through the process of career exploration, according to students and graduates.

Learn more about how the Strada-Gallup Alumni Survey works.

Gallup

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