The Daily Evergreen

You need more to show than a 4.0

CORRINE HARRIS | Evergreen Columnist

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In the midst of one of the most dismal job markets of the past decade, future employment has become the collective ambition of college students everywhere, but the road to their dream is obscure. 

The path to success is nothing but an enigma when taking the dynamic needs of employers into consideration. A 4.0 GPA is no longer a guarantee of triumph, forcing students to hover between two roads: passion or achievement. 

A combination of both, which seems to be the road less traveled, might better prepare students for the world of employment. Current college graduates lack a very specific array of skills that won’t be fixed in the inside of a classroom.   

According to Penn State University, being well-rounded can serve students well when applying to graduate school. The added capability from being active in multiple areas of a college can provide the experience that gives texture to a resume. 

Entering the job pool, however, is a different matter than seeking graduate level education. Students must tailor their education between the requirements of the university and the demands of employers. Unfortunately, students aren’t stepping up to the plate.

More than 60 percent of employers find that college applicants lack many of the most important skills required by a workplace, according to TIME. Communication and interpersonal skills are at the top of the list but many employers also complain that new college graduates have an inability to think critically, write well or solve problems. 

Difficulty with these so-called soft skills is crippling. According to the University of Kent and Forbes, employees both domestic and abroad rank teamwork, problem solving and written and verbal communication in their top 10 desired skills. 

Assignments administered in the classroom can only imbue students with so many of these skills. The ability to analyze and assess or work confidently in a group is acquired with practice. University curriculums are failing in these areas if the vast majority of employers think that college graduates are unsuited to the task of employment.   

Students need to seek out professional and club environments in addition to the standard academic outlet in order to gain these talents. Internships, student jobs and involvement with clubs and cooperatives hone the skills needed by employees. Achievement in academics and extracurricular activities constitute part of the current path to starting a profession.  

However, employers are also seeing problems with motivation and drive, according to the TIME article. Such issues are the archetype for employees who lack a passion for what they are doing. 

The absence of motivation could suggest that graduates don’t appreciate the applications their academic interests have in the real world or that many graduates aren’t coming by jobs in their chosen field.   

All of this general unpreparedness communicates a flaw in the system of higher education. University courses are becoming focused on providing technical information without the knowledge of integration, meaning that for all intents and purposes, students are on their own and are responsible for finding their own motivation. 

To be a suitable candidate for work in today’s world, students must strive to fit the paragon of academic achievement while keeping their passions and interests alive. It might be the road less traveled, but it is the road that pays.

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