May 8, 2009
When 381 St. Mary’s University’s undergraduate and graduate students walk across the stage Saturday, May 9, they will be armed with more than just a diploma from one of the best schools in the West. They will also be well prepared for the tight job market.
That’s because St. Mary’s students have access to extensive career resources that are bar none in local higher education institutions. At St. Mary’s, career advising doesn’t begin students’ senior year, it begins their first day at St. Mary’s with advice on selecting a major. The St. Mary’s Career Services/Service Learning Center reaches out to students on a regular basis with six job/intern/niche fairs a year. Through career counseling sessions, advisors also provide students with updated information on internship opportunities in their fields, community service opportunities, resume writing and interview pointers. The Career Services Center advisors have ongoing communication with more than 50 percent of the student body and work with them throughout their college careers advising them on how best to build their resumes, either for their job search or continued graduate and post-graduate studies.
Of the 381 graduating seniors, 94 percent responded to a post graduate survey. The survey shows that of the 94 percent who responded, 28 percent have already secured employment. This is eight percent higher than the national average. According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, nationally only 19.7% of graduating college seniors have jobs lined up after graduation.
Of the 28 percent of St. Mary’s graduates that already have jobs, 75 percent will be full-time, 80 percent have a job related to their major/career field and 84 percent are staying in Texas.
This high employment figure reflects advisors work with our students to help them gain valuable experience through internships and community service. Research shows that companies look for more than just good grades when hiring new college graduates. Students gain sought after skill sets from doing internships and community service, such as responsibility, maturity, leadership development, commitment and a sense of community. At St. Mary’s, more than 70 percent of our students participate in community service. In 2008, students were engaged in more than 70,000 community service hours.
Of the graduating senior respondents, 44 percent say they participated in at least one internship during their time at St. Mary’s, while most have done multiple internships or research activities. In addition, many St. Mary’s students work part-time either in their field or in a related field to build experience.
Students are also helped by their professors who share their professional contacts. Faculty and staff members mentor our students helping them with networking opportunities. And with an alumni network with nearly 16,000 alumni in the San Antonio area and approximately 22,000 in Texas, students are also able to tap into the resources of our alumni.
Other Spring 2009 graduates are choosing to go on to graduate and post-graduate school. According to our graduation survey, 44 percent are planning to attend graduate or post-graduate school within one year.
Most of the remaining 64 percent who have not yet secured jobs or who are not going on to graduate or post-graduate school say they are waiting until after graduation to intensify their job search. They will continue to use the Career Services Center because the services are free to all alumni.
St. Mary’s University has a nearly 60 percent graduation rate of all students (including minorities). This is just one of the reasons why St. Mary’s is ranked fourth in the West Region for quality and value in the “Great Schools, Great Prices” category of the U.S. News & World Report’s 2009 edition of “America’s Best Colleges.” St. Mary’s University, as a Catholic Marianist University, has fostered the formation of people in faith and educated leaders for the common good through community service, integrated liberal arts and professional education, and academic excellence for 157 years.