Gillian Cruce needs a job.
The Coruna freshman wants to work so badly that she is already looking into internships and clubs as she begins her career at Central Michigan University.
For many CMU students, finding a job and choosing an employable major is paramount to their college education.
“It’s definitely important to find a job,” Cruce said. “That’s how you get money. It’s what I came here to do.”
Cruce is wary of the competitive job market and eager to make professional contacts with her fellow classmates. Majoring in broadcast journalism, she faces the challenge of finding a job after college.
According to a survey conducted by the Wall Street Journal, composed using 2010 U.S. Census data, choosing a major could have a direct link to a student’s future employability.
The survey finds that a major in clinical psychology is the degree with the highest unemployment rate at 19.5 percent, with miscellaneous fine arts and U.S. history following suit at 16.2 and 15.1 percent, respectively. In contrast, the survey revealed actuarial science and teacher education to have the lowest unemployment rates at zero and 1.1 percent each.
Director of Career Services Julia Sherlock said it is imperative for students to begin considering employment early on in their college careers.
“If you’re not ready to choose a partner in the employment dance by senior year, the activities will drive you, not the other way around,” she said. “(Students) will become underemployed. The earlier you start, the more opportunities you will have.”
Sherlock said her office works closer with students in liberal and applied arts fields, since their degrees are often not tied to specific jobs.
She said students in accounting and information technology are most frequently placed into jobs.
“(Liberal arts students) are more driving it themselves,” Sherlock said. “They’re the ones that need to take more advantage of the counselors. They may not have the resources at their colleges.”
According to the Alumni Employment Survey conducted in 2012 by Career Services, December 2010 and May 2011 graduates have a full-time employment rate of nearly 60 percent, with 21 percent of graduates reporting part-time jobs.
Eleven percent of students are taking on graduate studies, and 6.7 percent are still out of work.
“Students are the tool. There are certain interests that can place you in a job,” Sherlock said. ”People need to be very competitive.”
Stevensville junior Victoria Bowman cited a need for passion when choosing a major, in addition to job placement.
The pre-medical student also asserted the importance of career research from an early age.
“You shouldn’t major in something just to get a job,” Bowman said. “Students should find an area they like and find something that is employable. Pick a major, do research and go to job fairs. Do everything else as a hobby.”
Royal Oak senior Pat Louzon expects several years still reside between him and a job. The psychology major intends to enroll in a four-year graduate program after his last year at CMU and cautions fellow students about going into performance-based fields.
“A job is the ultimate goal, but it’s going to take a while,” Louzon said. “Once you get out of high school, you have to make a living. You go to college to figure out what field you want to go into. It takes a little while, but it might make you more money.”
Ann Arbor freshman Kelly Winn is undecided in her major but agrees that jobs are the driving purpose of higher education.
Winn hopes to become a forensic psychiatrist and is worried about students who fail to have a career in their sights while attending college.
“(Students) need to get their act together if they want to prosper,” she said. “I definitely need a job after college. It’s probably the most important thing. Money isn’t everything, but it will take you places.”