Student Occupational Concerns in a Liberal Arts Program
It has surely always been the case that students attending a college or university have had expectations that a college degree eventually leads to greater employment success. However, trends in the 1990s seem to have increased the degree of this expectation. Corporate downsizing, and its related increase in job market competition from midcareer workers, has made college students fearful of what could be a very tight job market. In addition, recent pushes for more accountability in higher education have led to expectations that go beyond assuring that graduates have learned anything. As outcomes become important to college consumers, both students and their parents, perhaps the key outcome expected now is suitable employment after a course of study. Practically minded students of this era are clearly job-focused. It is common for prospective college students and their parents to spend more time considering a school's placement rate than the content of any academic program. Many colleges, in response to these "customer" demands, have expanded career services for students and made placement rates and alumni job networking part of the discussion in admissions and marketing materials.