Note: This is the first part of a two-part blog on how colleges and universities can respond to the findings of the 2014 National Freshman Attitudes Report.
All too often, college students’ involvement with career planning occurs at the end of their educational experience, when they are almost ready to graduate. But the information in Noel-Levitz’s just-released 2014 National Freshman Attitudes Report reveals that freshmen—whether they are 18 or 35—are asking for this assistance from the very beginning of their college careers:
- The majority of entering freshmen in the study (67 percent) wanted help with developing an educational plan “to get a good job.”
- Upon their arrival on campus, 47 percent of incoming freshmen last year wanted career counseling.
- Just over 21 percent of entering freshmen reported being “very confused” about which career occupation to pursue.
- 93 percent of incoming female freshmen expressed a strong commitment to completing their educational goals, compared to 88 percent of incoming male freshmen.
- Compared to White/Caucasian freshmen, incoming students of color brought higher degree aspirations beyond a bachelor’s.
- Compared to White/Caucasian freshmen, incoming students of color also indicated a greater desire to receive 25 institutional services that were measured in the study.
- Incoming freshmen ages 25 and older were clearer on their career direction than their younger counterparts, but 41 percent of these older students still wanted career counseling.
This shouldn’t come as a surprise, as the students who participated in this study have lived the last six years of their lives under the economic recession and its aftermath. For traditional-age students, this means their entire teenage years have been during the recession.
So how can your institution respond? In what ways can your institution organize itself to meet the career development needs of its first-year students as early as possible in their college careers? What purposeful strategies and opportunities can be put in place to improve your students’ persistence, retention, college completion, and career-goal attainment?