Since the founding of Greek Ladders, there's one very consistent comment we receive from college alumni - "If I had this when I was in college, I would be..." The statement is always filled with former goals and hopes and dreams.
The answers to this question is not why we created this company, but it certainly helps deliver the importance of placing greater emphasis on career planning while in college.
Figures we believe to be true, due to studies and our observations:
- 40% of college students know there's a career center on their campus
- 20% of college students actually step foot in the career center OR attend a career center workshop
- 5% of college students attend any given career fair held on their campus
The last figure is one of the instigators toward creating Greek Ladders. And, while these statistics are more real for public universities than their private counterparts, the figures are extremely disappointing. That said, they're also not surprising.
What we've found is that today's student mindset, when it comes to career planning, isn't too terribly different than it was 20-25 years ago. We run into a number of mindsets, including:
- I don't need career help, I have a job waiting for me when I graduate.
- I don't need career help, I can easily do this on my own.
- I won't use career assistance, because I expect to receive job offers in my last semester.
- I don't use the career center, because I'm afraid of letting someone else see my weaknesses or shortcomings.
- I don't attend the career fair, because it intimidates me.
- I visit the career center, because I'll take all the help I can get.
- I attend career fairs, but tend to "window shop" until I find an employer that looks right.
- I attend career workshops because I was told to, but I'm not really interested.
- I take advantage of every career event, because they could open many doors.
- I accept every career resource, because I'm hoping to choose from many job opportunities.
There are others, but you get the gist.
To be perfectly honest, back in 1989 (yeah, I'm old), I was the student leader who thought he had a job waiting for him AND assumed additional job opportunities would be presented to him at or just before graduation. Whenever I look at photos like this, I often envision possibilities when muttering thoughts like "What if...?" and "If I had, I would likely be..."
When co-founding this company, I vowed to prevent others from looking back to their college days and regretting not taking advantage of opportunities.
Being a student is not easy...the same goes for career center officials.
We visit campus career centers on a frequent basis. They're overwhelmed with trying to provide resources, activities, and connections to tens of thousands of students. They do their best and are able to provide great benefit to many students, but they can't get to them all.
Greek Ladders not only helps fill the gap, it provides an additional resource to the students. We collaborate with the career centers to expand each student's networks, job/internship possibilities, and career planning tools.
So, while we didn't create Greek Ladders because of that one question, we do everything in our power to prevent that question from ever being asked again. Instead, we hope to hear tomorrow's industry and community leaders say something like, "I'm really glad I took advantage of the career resources, events, and opportunities presented to me when I was in college."