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With fall graduation approaching, soon-to-be graduates have one thing on their mind — getting a job.
Though Career Services doesn’t collect data individually for fall grads, Charlotte Rinaldi, assistant director for Career Services, explained that while graduation time doesn’t significantly affect what students do, it may instead affect the waiting game.
“Most cohorts start in the fall, so (fall graduates) have a whole chunk of time where they’re waiting,” Rinaldi stated. “Typically student grads in June only have a couple of months before school starts if they’re going to grad school. Otherwise, students try to get jobs exactly the same.”
One of the biggest concerns among college students is finding a job related to their course of study. However, according to the 2012-13 Graduate Status Report (GSR) created by Career Services, “93 percent of respondents reported that their employment or post-baccalaureate study is directly or somewhat related to their major.” This leaves 7 percent of students who pursue a path not related to their course of study.
Rinaldi believes that even when pursuing something unrelated to their major, students from Cal Poly tend to be successful.
“I think people who tend to follow a non-traditional path do so for a lot of reasons,” she said. “One is passion for something they’re really interested in; on the other hand, sometimes they just didn’t like what they ended up studying.”
So where do those in an unrelated path end up? One option for students is starting a business. According to Chelsea Brown, manager of Student Innovation Programs, many students start businesses before graduation.
“Some (entrepreneurs) start while they’re still in school,” Brown said. “So if they find the right business model, they can pursue that right away.”
Brown reported that 18 new businesses have come from Cal Poly alone in the last few years from newly graduated students.
“Some students realize they can make a business out of their senior projects,” Brown said. “A good majority use whatever skills they learned in their majors in an industry, but some come into college with a different idea or find one within a program or club at Cal Poly.”
Brown encourages these entrepreneurs to start right away.
“The Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) provides students with mentorship, as well as funding and resources to it. This allows them to start their businesses right away.”
However, Brown believes that the time right after college is the best time to start a business, reasoning that students have the fewest expenses and worries then.
But some students choose instead to follow their coursework into graduate school. According to the GSR, 12 percent of students go directly into graduate school after leaving Cal Poly.
Despite the general success of post-graduate students, some graduates still struggle to find a path after claiming a bachelor’s degree. According to the GSR, 12 percent of students are seeking employment after graduation. This number has been increasing since 2004; luckily Career Services is available to help students find success after graduation.
“Students can come in for free up to six months after graduating and they also get one free appointment a year,” Rinaldi said.
Students are also encouraged to respond to the Graduate Student Report to help Career Services. Their website has more information about the program.
The CIE is also available to aid students after graduation by teaching them skills such as financial management and customer development.
“Being successful depends on finding a business model that fits the customers a product is targeting,” Brown said.
The CIE encourages interaction between new business owners and their customers. More information about the CIE is online at cie.calpoly.edu.
“All the companies that come through the CIE are successful in some regard, whether that means making money or making a difference,” Brown said. “We are here to help students figure that out.”