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Guiding the Careers of College Graduates

Most of today’s college students are members of Generation Z, the most racially and ethnically diverse generation. According to Pew Research Center, Gen Z is also “on track to be the best-educated generation yet.”

Higher education offers opportunities to support students in discovering their passions and exploring career paths. Earning a Master of Science in Education (MSEd) in Leadership in Higher Education can open doors to these impactful roles.

For instance, the Southern Oregon University (SOU) online MSEd with a Concentration in Leadership in Higher Education program equips graduates for educational leadership roles in areas such as student affairs and career services. Students can graduate in as few as 16 months, ready to advise young people in launching profitable and meaningful careers.

What Are Some Trends in Career Advising?

Access to better job opportunities has always been a top reason for going to college. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median weekly earnings for workers with a master’s degree is $1,574, compared to $809 for high school graduates with no college (as of September 2022).

Career advising is more crucial than ever as growing college costs raise expectations for success. When counseling students about their careers, advisors should consider and discuss relevant behaviors and trends:

  • Real-world experience. As an article for the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) notes, “Intern. Intern. Intern.” Real-world experiences such as internships can give students an edge in a job search. Volunteer work and project-based learning are other options. In addition, companies are increasingly partnering with universities on career-focused programs that build talent pipelines.
  • Networking. NACE provides a 2020-2021 Recruiting Trends survey supporting the value of networking. For example, one employer noted that “having a broad network and the courage to put that network into play will be vital over the next couple of years.” In addition, joining affinity groups can help students ease into networking. As a bonus, networking strengthens the interpersonal and communication skills employers seek.
  • Social recruiting. Social recruiting is taking over as those with digital profiles enter the workforce. According to Handshake, 80% of students whose profiles include preferred job type, location and role are contacted by a recruiter. Of course, employers also use social media to screen candidates. Universities are partnering with companies such as Filtari to help students clean up social media accounts for job searches.
  • Enhancing diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives. As companies work to address DEI in the workplace, career services professionals also need to ensure equitable access to career-building opportunities. For example, an article for Diverse: Issues in Higher Education identifies mentorship opportunities and pre-internship programs such as CodePath as effective strategies for increasing career access for students from traditionally underrepresented backgrounds.

Why Choose an MSEd in Leadership in Higher Ed?

SOU’s online MSEd with a Concentration in Leadership in Higher Education program is an ideal choice for those aspiring to leadership roles in colleges, universities and other postsecondary settings. The following courses may interest those who intend to pursue careers in areas such as academic advising, student affairs or career services:

  • Institutional Strategies for Student Support. Working with college students requires understanding learning environments and factors that lead to their success and recognizing the theories and practices that inform academic affairs. Participants learn to identify and investigate how students’ experiences and developmental patterns vary depending on age, identity and personal circumstances. Coursework examines institutional strategies for organizing, staffing and funding programs and services that benefit college students’ economic, social, cultural, developmental and academic needs.
  • Critical Issues in Education. This course takes a comprehensive look at concepts in professional ethics and policies, foundational philosophies, research, leadership and contemporary issues within their focused area of education. This course guides graduate learners to explore the purpose of research, answer questions and acquire new knowledge, thereby making important and valuable contributions to the various fields within the discipline of education.
  • Higher Education Systems and Culture. Relates justice, sensitivity to power and privilege, and equitable outcomes to shared governance, decision-making, economics and finance, labor relations, policy and planning, higher education law, institutional research and organizational culture.

Career advisors have an opportunity to advance students’ academic and professional goals as they navigate the transition to independence and adulthood. Earning an MSEd in Leadership in Higher Education can prepare advisors for a rewarding career.

Career advisors’ earning potential offers additional benefits. According to the BLS, the median annual salary for postsecondary education administrators is $96,910, with the top 10% earning more than $190,770 (as of May 2021). In addition, SOU’s affordable tuition suggests that graduates of the MSEd in Leadership in Higher Education online program will enjoy a strong return on investment.

Learn more about Southern Oregon University’s online MSEd with a Concentration in Leadership in Higher Education program.

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