College is admittedly a fantastic opportunity for many different things such as meeting new people, expanding social horizons, and exploring interests. However it is arguable to say that the primary reason students choose to attend college is to receive an education that prepares them for a career.
The Career Center serves as a gateway for students eager to learn and hone their skills. However, its services are not well advertised to students. A fundamental flaw in the Career Center’s marketing to students is exemplified in the statement by Colin Brown, a newly enrolled freshman and history major. “I’ve really only heard people mention it and not much more than that so I don’t know if I am the best candidate [to talk to],” he said.
This statement may seem harmless, but it represents a flaw in something that should be a major part of secondary education. Why are representatives from the career center not seen, in force, educating new students about the services and resources they have available?
Transfer student and modern language and linguistics major Tori Koehl revealed that this problem is not one unique to UMBC. “All of my schools had career centers before this one. I’ve heard about them, I know they exist, but that’s about it,” she said, elaborating that the most she has really gotten from any of these departments are forms to help determine what she would like to study and pursue a career in.
Choosing a career path obviously requires much more than simply checking boxes to fit students into a career that they will often be tied to for their entire lives. Marcus Jordan, a senior chemistry major, said that the majority of career guidance he has gotten has come not from the Career Center, but from on-campus research advisors and other members of the chemistry department.
An anonymous undergraduate advisor in one of UMBC’s STEM departments supports this statement, stating that while the Career Center is a good resource for refining a curriculum vitae and practicing interviews, he advises that students looking for a job are better off going straight to a head hunter.
Despite the dozens of flyers that sit outside of the Career Center, they have no way of targeting students in specific fields other than weekly and biweekly handouts that go out to their appropriate colleges. This is something that the same advisor claims to have never seen come through.
The Career Center’s first priority should be to increase awareness within the student body that it serves. Marketing to freshman as well as transfer students will ensure that everybody coming to UMBC knows about the services offered.
By informing students about this hidden gem located on the second floor of the Math/Psych building as they come into UMBC, the Career Center will better prepare students for when they start looking for and applying to jobs. With improved advertising of the Center, students will be fully aware of where they can get career advice and will be better prepared to jump right into life after UMBC.
As it stands, the Career Center is not doing all it can to help students, but there is still hope for it to be the flourishing career resource center that students need it to be.