After the "Great Recession," many college graduates face the prospect of holding a degree with no job prospects. For some of those students, however, there's a clear solution:
Graduate from McPherson College.
MC boasts a tremendous track record of job placement for its graduates with better than nine out of every 10 of them landing their first job within six months of receiving their degree. What's more, most of those students have the peace of mind that comes from receiving a job offer prior to graduation.
Even before crossing the stage at commencement in May, more than half of 2013 MC graduates had a job waiting for them.
Compare that to the most recent national figures from the National Association of Colleges and Employers: Just 18 percent of 59,000 surveyed college seniors at 826 colleges nationwide managed to secure employment before graduation.
Chris Wiens, director of career services at McPherson College, said that the entrepreneurial liberal arts education at MC delivers not only practical skills and knowledge but also the "soft skills" that are in high demand.
"This is what undergraduate education should be all about," she said. "How to analyze. How to think. How to be creative. How to communicate. By having a liberal arts education and having to take a wide variety of classes, they get what employers are looking for."
Wiens said keys to MC's career success are personal attention, customized career services and a strong emphasis on internships and other work experiences. In the class of 2013, for example, 84 percent of the graduates had at least one internship during their time at MC.
Casey Maxon, a 2013 graduate of McPherson College in automotive restoration, said his internships helped him into the ideal job he has today. Maxon interned for a political campaign, Hagerty Insurance, and Petersen Automotive Museum. He also worked to organize the college library's huge automotive collection, and he started his own automotive photography business thanks to a grant from the college's Horizon Fund.
All this came together in his new career as a historic vehicle analyst for the Historic Vehicle Association in Washington, D.C. He's currently working on a national register of historic vehicles, researching and promoting them to raise the profile of the restoration industry. The college helped him explore his interests and make connections.
"The college was instrumental in getting me this job," he said. "It knew the people to get me in the right place and have me the skills that I needed."
Taylor Roop, who graduated in 2013 in biochemistry, is going on to the University of Kansas, to pursue his doctorate in pharmaceutical chemistry. He ultimately plans to work on vaccine development. Roop said the college supported him in applying for the internship leading to his new position at KU. Career services also connected him with a shadowing opportunity early on, which helped him realize he actually didn't want to become an orthopedic surgeon as he'd planned.
Page 2 of 2 - Opportunities and personal relationships at MC were critical, he said.
"You develop a one-on-one relationship with your professors, so when you have their letters of recommendations, they're taken really seriously," he said. "They really help you try on different hats to decide what direction you want to go."
"We care just as much about what happens to our students after graduation," said MC president Michael Schneider, "as we do while they are here."