Key to landing a job after college? Internships, study abroad, undergrad research and more

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College students who engaged in four or more high-impact practices such as study abroad or internships have a 70% chance of either enrolling in graduate school or finding a full-time job after graduating with a bachelor's degree, finds a new University at Buffalo study.

Each additional high-impact practice increased a 's chance of attaining a bachelor's degree and a full-time job by 17% or enrolling in by 30%, according to the study. These practices—such as study abroad, internships, undergraduate research, community service, first-year seminars and capstone courses—have the greatest influence on college success, regardless of student or , say the researchers.

The results, published in the International Journal of Educational Research Open, may help universities close the learning gap between immigrant and international college students compared to students whose families were born in the United States, ensuring educational equity and inclusion for marginalized students.

Immigrant students are more likely to be economically disadvantaged, take part in fewer high-impact practices, and lag behind U.S.-born students in graduation rates, graduate enrollment and job attainment, according to the study.

International students excel in graduation rates and graduate school enrollment but trail in finding full-time employment, despite higher levels of participation in high-impact practices than U.S.-born students. Strict anti-immigration policies that limit employment, internship and research opportunities for may contribute to their difficulties in finding employment, says lead investigator Jaekyung Lee, Ph.D., professor of counseling, school and educational psychology in the UB Graduate School of Education.

"Disadvantaged students are often neglected and stereotyped as not being capable of obtaining success when it is the environments that are at fault," says Lee. "Transforming one's self-trajectory at the individual level is an unfair burden on students whose every day is already fraught with multi-systemic barriers. Intentional, committed action at the institutional level is vital to students' college readiness and success."

"It is important that higher education institutions do not merely state they value inclusion, but provide support services that address key issues such as language difficulties, adjusting to cultural norms, financial concerns and discrimination," says Namsook Kim, Ph.D., co-author and clinical assistant professor of educational leadership and policy in the UB Graduate School of Education.

The study, funded by the AccessLex Institute, Association for Institutional Research, and UB Baldy Center for Law and Social Policy, sought to compare the performance of immigrant and international with U.S.-born students, and understand the factors that improved or impeded their success.

The researchers examined data on student transition from college to career from the National Center for Education Statistics, and interviewed international and . Students were considered U.S.-born if their parents were born in the U.S., and regarded as immigrants if their parents were born in another country but reside in the U.S.

More information: Jaekyung Lee et al, Immigrant and international college students' learning gaps: Improving academic and sociocultural readiness for career and graduate/professional education, International Journal of Educational Research Open (2021). DOI: 10.1016/j.ijedro.2021.100047

Citation: Key to landing a job after college? Internships, study abroad, undergrad research and more (2021, June 3) retrieved 24 March 2023 from
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