Sunday, February 14, 2016
When Student Preferences Don’t Align
When students were looking for "true" electives--courses that filled neither a gen ed requirement nor a B-school requirement--I always asked 2 questions: What are *you* interested it? Or, what non-required course will make it easier for you to do things you want to do, either in your (projected) career, or in your (projected) personal life? I always encouraged people to consider a language (given where I was, that was usually Spanish), if a student wanted something that would enhance their employability. (I usually got 1 taker every other year on that one.) For the others, we'd often have a fairly long conversation about courses or experiences they had enjoyed, and wanted more like that. I'd sometimes get someone who really liked art, and who would wind up taking an art course. (I had, over the years, I think 3 or 4 students who took a studio art course, and wound up using some of it when they started their own businesses--graphic design for a website or for sales material...) I also had the occasional students who would take something in A&S as an elective, and switch out of their business majors (keeping a business minor).
So it was a mix of career-oriented and personal-goals-oriented stuff. I will say that more than half the students had no idea what they might want to do when we began the conversation.
Good point by Don Coffin about the many who don't know what they want to do. I will add that some pick a degree based on the reported starting income without knowing much at all about what a person does to earn that income.
And thanks for getting that a "transfer degree is also a workforce degree" idea out there, particularly on IHE. Since I teach future engineering majors, I know really well that the liberal arts (math, science, etc) can lead to employment.