College Advice for the High School Class of 2011

Barry Lenson

College Advice for the High School Class of 2011

When graduating high school students were putting on their caps and gowns back in June 2010, many of them were worried. With the economy in such bad shape, students and their parents were questioning the value of going to college at all. What was the point, when no jobs were waiting in the real world?

One year later, high school graduates and their parents feel more positive about going to college. The costs of going to college have certainly not gone down, but the chances of finding a job after college are improving as the economy picks up steam. In certain areas of employment like engineering and the medical support professions, the chances of finding a job are actually very good for recent college grads.

But if you are a student who is about to start college, you can’t coast and hope that a job will be waiting for you after you graduate in four years. Here’s some advice for making sure that you are making the most of your college years to prepare for a job after graduation . . .

  • Be sure to work jobs and internships during all your college years. It’s the only realistic way to find out about the skills and knowledge that will land you a job after you graduate. It’s also a great way to build relationships to the companies that will hire you after you graduate.
  • Get involved with your college’s alumni network. Visit your college’s office of alumni affairs and find ways to meet people who have graduated from your school. You could talk to alumni groups, have your college a cappella group or comedy club perform at alumni functions, or find other ways to get involved. Alumni love to help students who are attending their alma maters. They can offer you valuable job and networking opportunities.
  • Supplement your college studies with summer and online courses. Not all colleges teach the specific skills and knowledge that you need to get a job in today’s marketplace. For example, if you think you might want to work in one of the many fast-growing medical support professions like medical billing and coding or x-ray diagnostics, you might need to take courses to build your knowledge of human anatomy and physiology. Or if you will be looking for a job in business, perhaps it is time to add specific skills like accounting. By looking at the demands of specific professions and preparing for them while you are in college, you can make it easier to find a job when your college years are over.

So congratulations, class of 2011, and best wishes for every college success! With the economy picking up, you have picked a good year to start your college studies.

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