(From a report by McKinsey & Company):
Voice of the graduate
Everyone knows education is the path to individual and national prosperity in an era of global competition. Yet US educational attainment, once the envy of the world, has been lagging in recent years—and concerns about the value and efficacy of higher education in particular are making headlines and finding a place on both political parties’ reform agendas. While as recently as 1995 the United States was one of the world leaders in college-graduation rates, the country has since slipped to 12th among industrialized nations.
Employers fret that too many college graduates arrive on the job without having acquired the skills and habits to succeed in the workplace. Meanwhile, the rising
cost of college and the debt many students and families are expected to incur are raising questions in some quarters about the value of college as an investment, even as critics take aim at the cost structures and traditional practices of colleges and universities in general.
Yet while public officials, employers, and educators are heard from frequently in the debate, the voice of students themselves is often missing. To help round out the public understanding of these vital questions, McKinsey partnered with Chegg, a connected learning platform with unusual access to recent graduates,
to gauge their attitudes on a range of issues.
The survey was conducted in October and November 2012 with more than 4,900 former Chegg customers. The mix included attendees of four-year and
two-year private and public colleges, as well as vocational and for-profit institutions. The survey primarily focused on students who graduated between 2009 and 2012, though some students still working toward their degrees were surveyed as well. The data were weighted using standard statistical techniques to assure representativeness by region, gender, and type of institution (details on this are available in the appendix).
Our key findings are reviewed in the pages that follow; we also note important questions these student perspectives raise. In a nutshell, although students voice some serious concerns for higher education, they also point to tremendous opportunities.
Students largely believe they are overqualified for the jobs they find themselves in after graduation, saying many don’t require a college degree. Many students also feel unprepared for the world of work; the transition from campus to office today is anything but seamless. Half of all graduates express regrets, saying they would pick a different major or school if they had to do it all over again. Students also say that when they were deciding what college to attend, they didn’t consider graduation rates or the job and salary records of graduates. (This echoes findings from McKinsey’s recent report on global “education to employment,” which found that most institutions of higher education don’t track such data systematically in the first place) READ MORE HERE