One-third of seniors accept job offers
By Amanda Young, The Dartmouth Staff
Published on Friday, May 25, 2012
Slightly over one-third of graduating students have accepted job offers for after graduation as indicated by a preliminary survey conducted by Career Services, according to Monica Wilson, acting co-director of Career Services. Reflecting a nationwide trend reported by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, the current number of Dartmouth students with guaranteed employment marks an increase from this time last year.
Career Services administered a “Destinations Questionnaire” in late March and early April to get “a snapshot” of the senior class’s postgraduate plans and to reach out to students, according to Wilson. 485 students from the Class of 2012 responded, up from 450 students in last year’s class, she said.
Of the respondents, 36 percent of seniors have accepted job offers — an increase from 25 percent last year — while 15 percent have been accepted to graduate school, compared to the 20 percent who planned to attend graduate school last year, according to Wilson.
The survey’s results may not be representative of the entire class, and the percentage of hired students does not reflect the fact that many employers wait to hire seniors until closer to graduation, she said.
“The final results for the Class of 2012 are likely to look quite different,” Wilson said.
Cornell University, which conducts a similar survey on the postgraduate plans of the graduating class each year, found that 49 percent of Cornell seniors have accepted jobs and 29 percent have been accepted to graduate school, Rebecca Sparrow, executive director of Cornell Career Services, said in an email to The Dartmouth.
Sparrow said that 47 percent of Cornell seniors had accepted jobs at this time last year.
“The recruiting climate on campus was more competitive than in recent years, with more students landing multiple job offers than in recent memory and stronger competition between employers,” she said.
About 68 percent of Harvard seniors have jobs lined up for after graduation and 24 percent plan on heading to graduate school, The Harvard Crimson reported. The survey was conducted in May by The Harvard Crimson and drew 420 responses.
Representatives from other Ivy League universities did not return requests for comment by press time.
Employers nationwide are expecting increases in the number of college graduates hired, according to the NACE survey. In its 2012 Job Outlook Spring Update, NACE reported that employers plan to hire 10.2 percent more college graduates from the Class of 2012 than they did from the Class of 2011.
The results of NACE’s survey corresponds with the greater number of Dartmouth students in the Class of 2012 that have accepted job offers. While Wilson said she would have expected a “slight increase” due to an improved economy, the survey results could have been affected by the composition of respondents.
“It’s not necessarily a reflection of Career Services or the economy in terms of how many students have positions — it’s more a reflection of the students in the class,” Wilson said.
Popular fields for the Class of 2012 include teaching, finance, consulting, communications and jobs involving research and analysis, according to Wilson.
“There is slightly more diversity in the types of occupations students have accepted offers in as of April,” she said.
Wilson said she has also seen a greater employer interest in user experience analysts and developers, positions to which Dartmouth students are well-suited.
As part of a “wide range of resources,” Career Services organizes a two-day career fair each fall to aid students in their job search. Last September’s fair saw increased student turnout, with about 900 students attending the first day alone, Wilson said.
Of the respondents to the survey who accepted job offers, 49 percent indicated that they used the recruiting program to obtain their initial interview, Wilson said.
While Wilson said it is not too late for seniors to obtain help from Career Services, she encourages students to use its resources earlier in their time at Dartmouth.
“Those who set aside time to start thinking about their portfolio of skills and their internship search earlier are likely to have better success and certainly feel more confident,” she said.
Andrew Ceballos ’12, who has funding lined up for one year of graduate school in electrical engineering at Stanford University, said he would advise others to start preparing for the graduate admissions process earlier.
“Start earlier than your senior year,” he said. “Look into applying not only for grad school but also applying for graduate fellowships.”
Wilson said that Dartmouth’s rural location combined with a relatively small student population affects the type and number of employers who recruit on campus.
“We try to be creative and to collect resumes for employers and send them in resume bundles and encourage [employers] to do phone interviews with candidates if they can’t get here or invite candidates to their offices,” she said.
While helpful in obtaining internships, the quarter system can make it difficult for students to travel to off-campus interviews due to academic pressures, according to Wilson.
Wilson said that employers find Dartmouth students to be sociable, humble and in possession of transferable skills.
“Employers have commented that Dartmouth students are very well-rounded, with strong skills in communication, adapting to new environments and cultures quickly and learning new technology,” Wilson said.
Jenny Thapa ’12 said that while the economic climate is “getting much better,” the job market is very competitive.
Thapa, who will work as an investment banker at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, said that students should talk to alumni and other people working in the industry and obtain internships to gain a greater understanding of a company.
“You have to get a feel for what your life is going to be like if you’re going to work there full-time,” she said. “What you might think might be very different from the reality.”
Motema Letlatsa ’12 said that Dartmouth students should not be afraid to pursue atypical postgraduate paths.
Letlatsa will be volunteering at the HIV/AIDS non-profit Nkosi’s Haven in Johannesburg for four to six months through funding from the Dickey Center for International Understanding.
She said that students should be comfortable with what they want to do post-graduation.
“I realized that I wasn’t going to give my 100 percent effort if I went directly to grad school,” Letlatsa, who is from Lesotho, said. “I need to go home for at least some time to regain perspective of why I came here in the first place.”
Wade Islan ’12, who will work with Teach For China on a two-year fellowship, said that he is interested in education but not sure what he wants to do for a career.
“If you don’t know what you want to do in the long-term then that’s OK, but just try to find something that you’re going to be excited about,” he said.
Career Services is collaborating with the Office of Alumni Relations to administer a more investigative survey of members of the Class of 2012’s post-graduation plans closer to graduation, according to Wilson. The Class of 2011 Post-Graduate Report will be released by mid-July, she said.