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Majority of Saint Mary’s seniors entertain post-grad plans

Kaitlyn Rabach | Wednesday, May 15, 2013


As the Saint Mary’s class of 2013 eye life after the cap and gown, most Belles plan to don a suit and tie to enter the workforce, according to a recent College survey.  

Stacie Jeffirs, director of the College’s Career Crossings office, said current seniors attempting to enter the job force will be aided by an economy that has steadily gained strength over the past four years. 

“I would definitely say that the job market is up three to five percent for college graduates entering the market,” Jeffirs said. “This is a slight gain and [that] will definitely benefit graduating seniors. An Increase is always good.”

Jeffirs said the College recently administered a survey titled “Graduate Destination Survey” to seniors.

“This survey gives a pulse on where seniors are at right now,” she said.

Jeffirs said the survey reported an estimated 60 to 75 percent of graduatesoindicated they will be employed full-timt, while an estimated 30 percent reported they intend to pursue some form of graduate degree.

“There is an overlap in numbers because some will choose to enter the workforce and pursue a degree in higher education at the same time,” Jeffirs said. 

“One-third of this year’s graduates reported going on to some sort of advanced education,” Jeffirs said. “This is a pretty substantial amount.” 

Senior Maria Malm will be pursuing a graduate degree in speech pathology at Northwestern University. She said the small class size at Saint Mary’s offered her the skills and opportunities she needed to stand out in the graduate school application process.

“I would say going to a small school opened up some pinnacle opportunities for me,” Malm said. “It really allowed me to stand out in the application process and because I was able to get to know my professors so well I had some pretty good recommendations.”

Jeffirs said a small percentage of students will volunteer and an even smaller amount will enter into the military after graduation.

She said since Saint Mary’s is a faith-based, liberal arts institution, students develop unique skill sets that set them apart in the job market.

“I think the liberal arts education is key in graduates finding jobs, especially in this market,” Jeffirs said. “Our girls have built the skills that are in demand by employers. They have worked on their communication, writing and problem solving skills. They are also at an institution where values are at the heart and center of their education. Employers want employees that have a strong set of values they can contribute to the world.” 

Jeffirs said the United States economy looks different than it did four years ago, at least in part due to the influx of new industries and the more-interconnected global economy. Saint Mary’s prepares students well to take on the challenges associated with the new shape of the national economy.

“Approximately 50 percent of our students participate in some sort of study abroad program,” Jeffirs said. “This is another skill that can really let an applicant stand out.”
     A lot of Saint Mary’s graduates are offered a position after working at summer internships, Jeffirs said.

“Many of our students are involved with experiential learning and our office helps sophomores and juniors find quality internships,” Jeffirs said. “It is very important to have these hands-on learning experiences. I see that it is very critical in students developing experience in the field they want to go into.”
 Jeffirs said the College offers learning experiences inside and outside of the classroom. 

“Leadership opportunities are extremely important, especially for women in the workplace,” Jeffirs said. “Here at Saint Mary’s, leadership opportunities can be found everywhere. Students have a strong foundation to build off of when they leave here.”

Senior class president, Silvia Cueveas said Saint Mary’s prepared her well for her new job at Target headquarters in Minnesota because she took advantage of the College’s many leadership opportunities.

“I am very hopeful for all of my classmates,” Cueveas said. “We have been given the tools we need to succeed and if you are a go-getter you will get the job. Saint Mary’s creates go-getters.”

Contact Kaitlyn Rabach at [email protected]