Quintessential Careers conducts ongoing research into the job-search experience of new college graduates as they enter “The Real World.” Go to the Real World Home Page. Oh, the choices we make in college. Hindsight is 20-20, and our surveyed new grads told us what they wish they had done differently in their college programs. And below, see what new grads felt were the informational and educational shortcomings of their college programs in the section, What College Didn’t Teach Me.
What I Wish I’d Done Differently in College
“[I wish I had taken] an economics course that deals with ‘real money’ — how to handle credit cards, car payments, etc. Dealing with APRs, etc.”
— TV production grad
“I wish I had taken courses that would have furthered my hobbies (genuine interests) into careers.”
“I wish that I had taken a few more politics classes since I am in the nation’s capital.”
— Anne Johnson, economics grad
“I wish my school had offered a course taught students how to balance their finances.”
“I wish I had taken classes in marketing, which would have given me a background in sports marketing/public relations, rather than studying political science.”
“I wish I had taken an applied statistics course.”
More of what new grads wish they’d done differently (from an earlier survey):
Taken more technical course that deal with databases.
More marketing courses.
More accounting and finance courses.
Taken marketing research.
Applied myself better.
Done better in freshman year.
Learned more about the real world.
Taken Spanish. Nearly all the jobs in South Florida are for bilingual people.
Learned about personal finance, investing, analyzing company benefits, and the importance of certifications.
Computer information systems classes.
More courses in learning computer programs and Web-site development.
Learned not to invest in Internet companies.
What College Didn’t Teach Me
“[College didn’t teach me] how to compete with students of other universities.”
“[College didn’t teach me] how unfair and arbitrary the job application process is.
“[College didn’t teach me] how to take the LSAT and GRE.
— marketing grad
“[College didn’t teach me] how political offices are and how to deal with incompetence of others.”
— English grad
“[College didn’t teach] us how to job-hunt effectively. That is what I wish that they spend some time on.”
— electronic engineering technology grad
“They did NOT teach about different managerial styles or the politics involved with some jobs. They did NOT teach how to handle oneself in awkward situations, e.g., sexual harassment.”
“[College didn’t teach me] actual working skills, rather than theories and book work. In hindsight, there are many classes and programs that I wish I had taken to prepare, but back then I had no idea what kind of job I wanted.”
— geography grad
“[College didn’t teach me] that its more about experience, and a BA degree is only the floor mat at the door of opportunity. Experience actually opens the door.”
— Jo Smith, psychology grad
“[College didn’t teach me] the usefulness of networking. They told us repeatedly, and some knew from the start how important it could be, but until you are actually in the ‘real world,’ it is hard to understand just how far networking can get you.”
— marketing and Japanese grad
“[College didn’t teach me] how to get US citizenship!!!”
— Mario Teixeira, MA grad in organizational leadership
“I think many students would benefit from a course on financial planning. We have the one thing older professionals don’t — time. Don’t go blowing your new money on excessive numbers of ‘toys;’ reward yourself, but prepare for your future and your future family.”
— English education grad
“A course in career planning should be required.”
— computer information systems grad
“It would have been nice to learn that relationship-building is the key to a successful career. No exams, projects, or anything can teach you that you need to meet more people and network with them.”
“I was a marketing major, and the one thing most classes neglect to mention is that the majority of graduates will end up working with firms that have minuscule marketing budgets. Unfortunately, all my marketing classes assumed that you are able to work with large amounts of money, and it is never a concern.”
“I know the basic marketing theories, but I really had to work at figuring out how to market a company that had a really low marketing budget.”
— marketing and 2000 MBA grad
Go back to The Real World Home Page.
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