Tag Archives: College

New SDS Video Goes Viral!

Here at PAR, we are delighted by the positive response to our new Self-Directed Search®, 5th Edition. One of the most widely used career interest inventories in the world, the SDS® has been revised to meet the needs of today’s clients.

To help spread the word about the new SDS® 5th Edition, we created a humorous video about college planning—or rather, what happens when there isn’t a plan! This video is making its way around the Internet as students, parents, teachers, and counselors are sharing the message that students need reliable tools to help them explore careers and find their future.

So take a moment to enjoy this short video, and if you like it, please share it through e-mail or your favorite social medium.

Introducing the (ahem!) four-year plan…

 

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Helping students navigate the path from college to career: The changing role of college career centers

Most students have a ready answer to the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” For college students, those answers are generally expected to have some basis in reality. Many students believe that a session with a career counselor will not only clarify their career path but also guarantee them a job or at least a crucial company contact.

However, there are people who think the role of the college career center should change. Andy Chan, Vice President for Personal and Career Development at Wake Forest University, posits that typical college career centers must shift their focus. Instead of providing job listings and assuming students will “figure it out,” career counselors should first focus on the student’s personal development, then work with the student to discover how those personal characteristics will relate to the student’s career interests. Providing students with the abilities and skills necessary to network effectively is also crucial.

Chan also argues against the common misconception that a liberal arts degree will lead nowhere. In fact, a recent survey indicates that employers want their workers to be innovative, critical thinkers with a wide-ranging base of education. A student’s choice of major may be less important than his being able to demonstrate that he has these types of broad skills, such as leadership, communications, and problem solving.

College career centers should attempt to hone these skills in students, along with providing standard services like aptitude testing, practice interviews, and access to alumni networking events and career fairs.

How should college career centers and career counselors adapt to best serve their clients? Have you benefited from career counseling?

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Forging a career path after college: The unique position of today’s young graduates

The class of 2013 doesn’t have it easy when it comes to finding a job. The recession has resulted in cut-backs, layoffs, and hiring freezes at many U.S. companies—and, although the recession has technically ended, recovery is slow. A recent Reuters article forecast a tough road for students hoping to join the workforce this summer: Employers will hire just 2.1% more new graduates this year than they did last year, and of 500 hiring managers surveyed by staffing firm Adecco, 58% said they won’t hire any new grads at all.

Meanwhile, it costs more than ever to get that degree: College costs have risen by 6-7% per year for the last few decades—twice the rate of inflation—and, according to the New York Federal Reserve Bank, more than 40% of 25-year-olds have student loan debt—in 2004, that rate was 25%.

“In addition to the substantial share who are officially unemployed, a large swath of these young, highly educated workers have either a job but cannot attain the hours they need or want a job but have given up looking for work,” said Heidi Shierholz, a senior economist at the Economic Policy Institute in Washington. The numbers back her up: Among college graduates ages 21-24 who aren’t enrolled in grad school, the unemployment rate is 8.8% and the underemployed rate is a staggering 18.3%.

So what’s a bright, eager 22-year-old armed with a diploma to do? Be detailed, be prepared, and look into every option. Some people find that their chosen field, which may have had a decent hiring rate four years ago, has undergone a change in terms of worker saturation. Others may graduate not fully knowing how their degree will translate into the real world. Grads should think creatively about how the skills and knowledge gained during college—including things learned outside of class—could be applied to unexpected fields or careers.  (PAR’s Self-Directed Search family of career inventory tools, designed to match personality types with career fields, can help with this step.)

Resumes should include any experience that might apply to the position, including internships, leadership positions in clubs, and volunteer work. And that resume should be nearly flawless—43 percent of hiring managers surveyed by Adecco said resume spelling errors resulted in “automatic disqualification.” Most colleges have career centers staffed with people who will look over a resume and provide constructive feedback. Grads should prepare for interviews by researching the company exhaustively and knowing how they’ll respond to standard interview questions. Likewise, they should have some questions ready for the interviewer. “The worst thing you can do, if they ask you if you have any questions, is to say ‘no,’” said Vicki Hardin, associate director of Career Services at University of West Georgia.

And one more thing: Young grads should be realistic, both about the length of their job search and about the job they’ll end up with. Grads probably will not be hired by the first company they send their resume to, and they’re “not going to be making $100,000 on [their] first job. Any kind of experience is better than none,” said Hardin. Patience and a healthy dose of humility are required for this journey.

Did you have a hard time finding a job out of college? Or do you have children who will soon encounter this problem? How have you found jobs in the past? Leave a comment and let us know what you think.

 

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Non-Medical Prescription Drug Abuse Linked to Depression and Suicide in College Students

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is calling painkiller use in the U.S. a “public health epidemic.”

A new study found that non-medical drug abuse is linked to depression and suicide in college students. Keith Zullig, PhD, from West Virginia University and Amanda Divin, PhD, from Western Illinois University conducted a study analyzing non-medical drug use among college students and its relationship to symptoms of depression.

Zullig and Divin analyzed data from the 2008 American College Health Association National College Health Assessment (ACHA-NCHA). ANCHA-NCHA asked 26,000 randomly selected college students from 40 campuses in the U.S about their non-medical drug use including painkillers, stimulants, sedatives, and antidepressants, along with their overall mental health in the last year.

The study, entitled “The Association between Non-medical Prescription Drug Use, Depressive Symptoms, and Suicidality among College Students” appears in the August 2012 issue of Addictive Behaviors: An International Journal. Authors reported that 13 percent of respondents who felt hopeless, sad, depressed, or were considered suicidal were using non-medical prescription drugs. The results were especially apparent in college females who reported painkiller use. Authors suggest that these findings are the result of college students self-medicating to mask their psychological distress.

“Because prescription drugs are tested by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and prescribed by a doctor, most people perceive them as ‘safe’ and don’t see the harm in sharing with friends or family if they have a few extra pills left over,” Divin said in a news story  from Western Illinois University. “Unfortunately, all drugs potentially have dangerous side effects. As our study demonstrates, use of prescription drugs—particularly painkillers like Vicodin and Oxycontin—is related to depressive symptoms and suicidal thoughts and behaviors in college students. This is why use of such drugs need[s] to be monitored by a doctor and why mental health outreach on college campuses is particularly important.”

The U.S. Department of Education’s Higher Education Center for Alcohol, Drug Abuse, and Violence Prevention says, “Before choosing a prevention strategy, you must start with assessment—the same as you would when addressing high-risk alcohol abuse or violence on campus.” The Center’s suggestions included surveys such as the NCHA, environmental scanning, including physical and online social networking environments, and increased faculty-student contact and mentoring.

What do you think? Should colleges do more to address non-medical prescription drug abuse as part of mental health and suicide prevention programs for their students? We would love to hear from you and keep the conversation going!

Editor’s note: This week, PAR is pleased to welcome guest blogger Grace Gardner. A recent graduate of the University of South Florida with a B.A. in Mass Communication, Grace is working as an editorial assistant this summer in the production department at PAR.

 

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Top Psychology Schools in the U.S.

Top Psychology Schools in the U.S.

A number of online academic resources have come out with lists of the best U.S. colleges for psychology majors. We decided to take a look at College Crunch, Social Psychology Network, Schoolahh to see which undergraduate programs were highly ranked across the board.

Stanford University in Palo Alto, California ranks number one on all three of the lists above. This isn’t surprising given that Stanford’s psychology department has been collecting kudos for more than fifty years. The philosophy of the department is that success results from the connection between teaching and scientific research. It’s organized into five areas of study within the field of psychology: Cognitive, Developmental, Neuroscience, Personality and Social Psychology. Research at Stanford includes (but is not limited to) topics like aggression, social behavior, competitiveness, dreaming, color perception, spatial relations, learning and memory.

The University of Michigan Ann Arbor appears in the top five of each list. This Big Ten School offers three concentrations: 1) Psychology, 2) Brain, Behavior and Cognitive Science and 3) Neuroscience. The school has many research labs that provide undergraduates with the ability to participate in research studies. Active research studies include African-American racial identity, human brain electrophysiology, human performance and cognition, visual and verbal working memory, affective neuroscience and biopsychology, neuronal mechanisms of movement and reward, and many more.

The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign appears in the top ten on the lists above largely because of its laboratories for research in human learning, animal learning, physiological psychology, animal motivation, human perception, and social behavior, just to name a few. The school houses extensive computer facilities, a complete animal colony, a fully equipped video laboratory facility for observation and videotape production. The Urbana-Champaign psychology department also operates a psychological clinic and other research and training facilities housed outside of its main building.

Because PAR, Inc. is based in Florida, we’re also familiar with high caliber programs in our Sunshine State.  Most notable is University of Florida’s graduate program, which was voted one of the best programs in the country by U.S. News and World Report in 2009. Programs at University of South Florida and University of Miami also earn high marks for their courses of study and resources.

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