While the recession made employment a challenge for many college graduates, employment rates are trending upwards for 2013 graduates both nationwide and specifically for Trinity. Employment prospects for college graduates are up when compared to other job seekers. Specific to Trinity, job postings on TigerJobs are also up for this year.
“It’s starting to bounce back, especially for college students,” said Brian Hirsch, director of career services. “It’s better than it was last year. Employers indicated that they are hiring new college graduates at a higher level this year.”
According to Career Services, last year, 45 percent of Trinity graduates that indicated they wanted to enter the workforce gained employment at the time of graduation. The national average for college graduates was 25.5 percent. Historically, Trinity beats the national average by at least 5 percent each year.
While Trinity graduates do well compared to the national average, Hirsch said that there are ways for Trinity graduates to improve the likelihood of landing a job by graduation even more.
“Trinity students are great problem solvers and communicators, but I don’t think that message always comes across in resumes, cover letters, and interviews,” Hirsch said. “Since Trinity students are pressed for time, they don’t have as much time to prepare. Sometimes students aren’t as well prepared as they could be.”
According to senior Ben Scheiner, balancing school and while trying to enter the workforce can be challenging. .
“I think the biggest problem for me was balancing schoolwork and job applications,” Scheiner said. “In order to be fully prepared for class you need a lot of time, and the same thing is true for job applications. You have to manage your GPA and your job search.”
While comparisons to the national average are possible, it is difficult to compare Trinity to specific peer institutions. According to Hirsch, there is no definition to what institutions mean by placement at the time of graduation. Some institutions use employment at time of graduation, others use offers at time of graduation or employment six months after graduation.
Additionally, different institutions stop collecting data at different times. These factors, and more, make it difficult to compare Trinity with peer institutions.
“It can be a bit like comparing apples and oranges,” Hirsch said. “Methodologies vary. There is no national or industry standard for reporting these numbers. I went to a workshop with other career services workers about this issue.”
Response rates also make it difficult to compare the employment rates of different institutions. According to Hirsch, Trinity maintains nearly a 90 percent response rate to employment surveys at the time of graduation.
“You have to fill out the survey in order to get your cap and gown,” Hirsch said. “Not all schools have incentives like that. While it can be a pain for seniors it’s valuable information. It varies a lot by institution.”
High response rates to the survey allow the admissions department to inform prospective students and their parents about how Trinity students utilize their degrees after graduating.
While many Trinity graduates go into the workforce after college, many also choose to pursue post-graduate education or take a transition “gap year”.
“Usually, the Trinity population is roughly divided into thirds,” Hirsch said. “About one third goes into the workforce immediately, another third go to graduate school, and another third are in a transition time in which they aren’t seeking long-term employment.”
Senior Nicole Goodman decided to wait a year before applying to graduate school in urban planning and development.
“Personally, I want to get some experience in the job force on the technical side before I decide to go to grad school for urban planning and development,” Nicole said. “Grad school is a huge decision and I want to make sure that urban planning and development is my passion before I make the decision. Also, I want to take a year off of school before committing.”
Approximately 70 percent of Trinity graduates who go into the workforce immediately after graduation end up in Texas. The majority of those graduates work in San Antonio, Dallas, Austin, and Houston. However, five years after graduation, alumni are more dispersed with only 60 percent still residing in Texas.
According to Hirsch, the job market is challenging, but there are still opportunities out there for Trinity graduates.
“I think the biggest mistake Trinity students make is waiting until too late to start applying for jobs,” Hirsch said. “Opportunities are out there. If you want to be working at the time of graduation, you have to get yourself in the game.”