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The right degrees for career success

TUESDAY, MAY 27, 2014 10:40 AM

Recent college graduates all share a similar sentiment or worry: landing a job after school. Of course, certain degrees help students move into their field of choice better than others. A survey from Millennial Branding and suggested that getting a liberal arts degree may not help graduates succeed in the business world much better than having just a high school diploma. In fact, only about 2 percent of companies actively recruit employees with a liberal arts education. 

The survey also revealed fields that are more lucrative. For example, 27 percent of companies seek recent graduates who have earned engineering and computer information systems degrees. The study's findings may prove useful to high school students deciding on their college major.

The benefit of higher education
The goal of education is to successfully prepare students for life after school. Getting a well-paying job and having a secure lifestyle is often the motivator behind earning a degree. However, the Millennial Branding survey revealed that the degree students earn, or whether or not they attend college at all, isn't necessarily a deciding factor in job selection. In fact, 64 percent of hiring managers said they'd consider hiring a job candidate who has no college diploma. About 8 percent of hiring managers stated that they favor experience in the field over a college education. 

While the survey may seem to suggest that students don't need a degree, other data beg to differ. According to a study by Pew Research, earning a college degree is essential to making a solid wage after graduation. In fact, college graduates between the ages of 25 and 31 earn about $17,500 more annually than employed young adults who only have a high school diploma. 

Preparing students for college and beyond
The Millennial Branding survey noted that 73 percent of company hiring managers feel that college did not adequately prepare students for their chosen field. For many, the key benefit of higher education is learning the skills necessary to pursue a certain career track. However, some wonder if students need to get ready for their future jobs long before attending a university, especially because not all recruiters feel college helped candidates prepare for jobs. 

The Common Core State Standards aim to prepare students for college and their careers while they're still in K-12 school. The Standards emphasize critical thinking, mathematics and literacy skills, all of which are important in college. As the Common Core is, at this point, somewhat new in the American education system, experts can't accurately assess whether the Standards are helping students get the jobs they want. Even if the Common Core does not make a lasting difference, the goal of preparing kids for college is a good one.