This month, we are highlighting a project the University Career Center completed last fall in which they asked UTSA students about their motivations for pursuing a college degree. In the survey, students were asked to select the motivations/reasons that had the most impact on their decision to attend college. The results from 889 students showed the top three reasons were:
• To improve my financial income through securing a higher level academic degree.
• To secure a better job.
• To gain specific skills needed to do a particular job.
To provide some background about the purpose of the study, here is a recent quote that is included in the survey summary report:
“Is college worth it? High school seniors anxiously awaiting admissions decisions might find that question bizarre, but recently some arguments have been leveled against the value of a college degree. There are mounting concerns about the rising cost of higher education, numerous questions about the relevance of many college degrees and even successfully completing a college degree is no guarantee of a successful career, especially in today's still-shaky economy. There were 1.9 million unemployed college graduates in October, according to the Labor Department, a third of them younger than 35. By one estimate, about half of young graduates are either unemployed or are working in jobs that don't require a college degree. Still, those who don't graduate face even bleaker prospects.” (Casselman, The Cost of Dropping Out, The Wall Street Journal, November 23, 2012.)
Knowing our students’ reasons for attending college can provide insights on the perceived worth, or value, they are placing on obtaining a college degree. Then, as Student Affairs professionals, we can offer effective programs and services that support students through every step of their journey, enabling them to reach their educational goals. We each play a key role in student success, of which the University Career Center is an excellent example.
Here are some additional comments our students made concerning their decision to attend college...
“I was a single mother and I wanted to ensure that I could care for myself and child
on my own. To develop as an independent thinker and strong role model for my
“To be what I want to be and do what I want to do.”
“To live up to my potential and not go through life being satisfied with being
More information about the survey and the students who completed it can be found in the summary report.
Thank you to the University Career Center for providing this information. Claudia Giliberti, Career Counselor, serves as the assessment representative for the Center, and Audrey Magnuson, Director, represents the Student Services area of Student Affairs on the Assessment Leadership Team.
See you next month!