LAS, JCFA majors have worst job outlook at Butler

Class of 2012 students who aren’t considering advanced degrees will find this May that some advanced studies from Butler University translate into a job faster than others.

Biology, history, philosophy, psychology and dance majors had the worst outlook last year for being employed within one year of graduating from Butler, according to institutional data.

Students in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the Jordan College of Fine Arts may have a harder time than students in other colleges when facing the reality of filling out job applications, said Julie Schrader, manager of employer development in the office of Internship and Career Services.

“In some of the LAS majors, a lot of students have difficulty figuring out how they’re going to translate that back down into a job,” Schrader said.

Matthew Wright is a May 2011 Butler graduate with a degree in English. He is still looking for permanent, full-time employment. He said he thinks LAS majors might have a harder time getting employment because of how broad their disciplines are.

“There’s not one avenue connecting LAS majors to a job after they finish their education,” Wright said. “It’s probably a little more complicated, but we are all capable of finding a job.”

In broad disciplines, there has been some difficulty for career counselors to imagine job or career paths for graduates who solicit their help, but no major is impossible, Schrader said.

“Sometimes we have to get a little creative about classes they’ve taken and experiences they’ve had and how they can translate that into a full-time job,” Schrader said.

The office of Internship and Career Services is considering putting on an event this spring geared toward helping LAS majors identify jobs they’re interested in, Schrader said, but there are no specific plans yet.

Despite the apparent advantage of majors like computer science and accounting, which had a  100 percent job outlook, the skills obtained from a major in the liberal arts are desirable in a new hire, said Wright, who is temporarily working for Butler’s Center for Academic Technology.

“Writing and communication abilities are actually really important in pretty much every job,” Wright said.

To improve the chances of being prepared for a job after college, Schrader said she thinks students in all six academic colleges should use the resources available in the office of Internship and Career Services.

Students with majors in colleges like LAS without their own career offices have an even greater need to take advantages of the services, Schrader said.

“In the College of Business, they’ve got it squared away,” Schrader said. “But there are some departments, such as in LAS or JCFA, that just don’t have those resources.”

Schrader said her office is there to supplement those departments as needed.

“We think we have a pretty good relationship with LAS departments, but we’re always looking to strengthen those,” Schrader said. “Our goal is just to help all those departments and students in whatever they need.”

Students in the COB, whose programs boasted an average 96 percent job placement rate, attract employers because they come out of college with two internship experiences under their belts, said Mary Ellen Wolfsie, director of career development and student services for the COB.

“That gives them some solid real-world experiences,” Wolfsie said. “It’s not unusual for some internships to turn into a full-time job. That’s a big piece of it.”

Wolfsie said that COB’s office has the same services as Internship and Career Services but that COB students don’t have to put in as much effort to take advantage of them because of the office’s relationship with the academic programs.

“The resources are there,” Wolfsie said, “but the difference is that in other colleges, students may have to take the initiative to take advantage of those resources.”

Students who choose to visit the office of Internship and Career Services may solicit the office’s help with trying to find an internship after graduation, going over a résumé or simply talking about career path options.

“We dig into really where their passion lies,” Schrader said, “and what they’re really good at.”

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