The Budget Game. You Could Be A Winner...
An old English proverb is “waste not, want not” but a modern maxim of college administrators is “Use it or lose it.” Leaders in colleges and student services understand that if they don’t spend all of their budget, those above them may assume they don’t need it. So down goes next year’s budget.
If you are not a PathwayU school and you are winding down the fiscal year with some excess funds, why not make the investment in that platform? By making the jump now you have the summer for your staff to determine all they ways you can employ the platform and maximize your return on investment for years to come.
Increase Retention Through Fit
The easy hanging fruit is using the career assessments embedded in the platform. The PathwayU platforms allow students to discover their vocational interests and values and explore their fit to a tremendous variety of occupations and academic programs. There is no more reliable and valid tool for supporting student discovery and exploration. Students often choose a degree because it seems interesting, someone like their parents recommended it, or they believe it will lead to a well-paying job. These are often the same students who struggle in their major courses and switch degrees when the going gets tough. Using PathwayU increases the likelihood students choose degree paths they truly find interesting and meaningful, leading to more success in the classroom and year-to-year persistence.
Sharpen the Saw Through Reflection
For business students at my university, we not only connect them to PathwayU during freshman experiences, we re-introduce it to them in a career readiness course they take as a sophomore or junior. Using reflection activities such as the Discern Your Calling workbook, students revisit their personal profiles through the lens of their first few years of course experiences. For example, a student who declared Marketing Management as a major has the opportunity to reflect on whether they are more drawn to the creative side or the people side of the business. When they are more confident or focused in their career choices, students can make better choices about the courses they want to take, the internships or summer jobs they want to seek out, and the professionals they want to meet for networking.
The PathwayU schools who get the greatest return on investment are the ones that find ways to integrate the platform throughout their undergraduate curriculum.
Create More Meaningful Internships
Internships benefit students in many ways. An internship experience can often affirm career choices and can be later added to a resume to be showcased in future job searches. PathwayU provides tools to help users job craft, creating small changes to the work they do to add meaning and engagement. When an internship employer asks, “how can we make this internship experience better for you?” students at PathwayU schools know how to compare their personal profiles to the job descriptions to provide compelling answers. For example, an intern might respond, “my PathwayU profile shows that I am enterprising and enjoy managing projects. Is there a small project we can find that I can own during my internship experience?”
After pulling the trigger to add PathwayU to your school’s student services arsenal, encourage your internship office to find ways of coaching students to make their internship experiences even more valuable.
Connect Students to Employers
Finally, PathwayU offers many ways for students and employers to better connect. Consider the career fair. At many colleges and universities, employers pay a fee to attend a job fair. PathwayU easily produces reports that show the broad occupational interests of a student body, so prospective employers can see the types of students they are likely to meet at a job fair.
From the student perspective, their workplace preferences show them the type of employer with whom they will find the greatest connection. A great preparation assignment would be to have students compare their workplace preference profiles to the online personas of employers to find their best fit. At the job fair itself, the students become the interviewers, asking questions like: “What are some of the things your company does to provide recognition for good performance?” Not only does this give them the opportunity to vet potential employers but it may increase their chances of landing a job since recruiters are going to be more interested in students who ask thoughtful questions.
Think about your school as a matchmaker, and how you can use PathwayU with both students and employers to create more meaningful post-graduation connections.
The simple call to action here was to invest any end-of-year savings in purchasing PathwayU for your college or university. But the more important recommendation is to be sure to get the most out of that investment by infusing PathwayU through the student experience, turning hopeful freshmen into grateful alumni.