Oh, the Places Students Will Go!

7 April 2022
Chad Ellsworth
Chad Ellsworth, Associate Director

Today is your day.
You’re off to Great Places!
You’re off and away!”
(Excerpt from “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!” by Dr. Seuss)

The first supervisor I had as a higher education professional 20 years ago gifted a copy of “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!” by Dr. Seuss to every graduating student leader he worked with. In it, Dr. Seuss whimsically foretells the ups and downs that almost all of us experience throughout our lives, with a special word of caution about “The Waiting Place,” where everyone is just waiting for a yes or no, for a better break, or for a second chance.

“NO! That’s not for you!” Dr. Seuss implores.

And it’s not for Carls, either!

At a time when we’re seeing more and more students launching their job searches “just-in-time,” we are equipping those students through action-oriented, hands-on experiences to drive positive momentum and success in their job searches.

The end results are higher than normal numbers of highly talented students who are now searching for “Great Places” to go.

Last year, we were able to collect information from 91% of the Class of 2021 about their “first destination,” or their primary career activity post-graduation. Two-thirds of last year’s graduates were employed, 20% were enrolled in graduate or professional schools, 3% engaged in caregiving or travel, 1% were unemployed, and 9% were unresponsive.

Of those who were employed, here are the top 7 industries in which they were working:

  • Science/Lab Research (17%) 
  • Business/Finance/Sales (15.8%) 
  • Education (14.3%)
  • Information Systems/Technology (12%) 
  • Healthcare (7%) 
  • Social Services (5.8%)
  • Legal Professions (3.9%) 

How can you help?

If your student is struggling or unsure where to begin, encourage them to focus on one small action each day, which is a great way to build momentum. 

The job and internship search process can be a “grind,” and the prospect of spending hour after hour searching websites, cold-emailing contacts, and revising application after application can feel downright daunting for many students, particularly on top of a rigorous academic schedule.

I encourage students to decide what a reasonable commitment for the search process looks like for them, both in terms of the outcome they’re looking for and in the context of their other responsibilities. 

  • How much time can they devote to searching websites for opportunities? 
  • How many networking requests would they like to send? 
  • How many applications do they plan to submit each week? 

Then, I invite them to dedicate a small amount of time on different days throughout the week to each of those tasks, which gives them a specific target for each day and some variation in how they’re spending their time. 

Finally, when they meet their goal for that day, I encourage them to feel 100% comfortable stopping for the day. 

There is always pressure to do more, but the quality of their networking interactions and the quality of their application materials matters far more than the quantity of them. When they sacrifice quality for quantity, they reach a point of diminishing returns.

Another way to support students at Carleton is through quality opportunities. We would love to be able to offer more high-quality, Carleton-specific jobs and internships for students. Could your place of work be a “Great Place” for a Carleton student? Who do you know that works at a “Great Place?” We would love to hear from you! The recruiting team at the Carleton Career Center welcomes referrals and connections at recruiting@carleton.edu.