relevant course work

relevant course work

Exploring the Role of Relevant Course Work in Academic and Career Success

1. Introduction to the Importance of Course Work

Although we currently don’t know how much relevant coursework matters for job seeking success and later job performance, we do know from previous work that college grade point average (GPA) is the biggest factor at the school level influencing hiring. Indeed, many studies have examined the connection between student grades and job market success, finding that academic performance can affect job market outcomes in a variety of ways. For example, high GPAs can help students access potentially important employment networks and allow for better job placement. High GPAs can also influence job offers and initial wage offers. When employers use grades to predict future job performance, high GPAs can result in more stringent screening standards and, as a result, fewer job offers. Finally, in professions like information technology and investment banking that use GPA cutoffs for hiring decisions, if you don’t get a job right out of college, your chances of finding a subsequent job are lower than if the job was less readily available right after graduation.

2. Impact of Relevant Course Work on Academic Performance

In the more traditional realm of academic coursework, researchers also find an impact of course relevance on success. One of the first studies to examine the effect of academic experiences on post-secondary achievement was Knowles, published in 1962. For him, relevance was an important part of “motivated learning” and he found that relevant material motivates performance. Most recent studies suggest that motivational and teaching strategies related to relevance are important to be used by teachers in classes, at least for those students needing the most help, and to design lessons using real and authentic problems to stimulate students’ attention, learning, and performance. However, most of these studies use college student samples and many do not differentiate the college instruction modeled from that typically found in advanced high school courses by students who may not be as intrinsically motivated as college students to exert the required level of task-persistent effort.

For students to benefit from coursework intended as relevant and valuable, this work must extend beyond mere reduction of achievement gaps or culling of excessive numbers of these courses from students’ transcripts. Certainly, that legislation is based on the assumption of relevance to certain career pathways, but if this relevance is primarily expressed in terms of a narrow focus on employment opportunities, policymakers are missing the fact that these classes are best serving to position enacting policies that strengthen academic and career performance pathways at the same time. Furthermore, it is important and especially helpful to broaden curriculum offerings to offer such courses through existing general academic course structures, so that no students lose the access pathways of PTE programs and work-based learning approaches dovetail in a manner that leaves more options and control in the hands of students, better serving their desire to contribute.

3. The Connection Between Course Work and Career Development

In this study, we examine a sample of graduates from our institution, Prosperous University, and others. Due to the 4-5 year time it takes for individuals to complete a bachelor’s degree in STEM, it is not practical to wait until post-graduate recruitment, hiring, and earnings data are available to conduct our study. In order to provide empirical evidence on the relationship between coursework and career employment outcomes, we code the coursework that they took while attending college. Specifically, we code our graduates for the total number of 4000/2000 level (major) courses taken in each of their fields of study.

In light of the strong evidence that relevant internships predict better immediate employment and long-term income prospects for STEM graduates, the role of prior relevant coursework in connection to career outcomes after graduating is worthy of further empirical attention. The STEM coursework of an individual at school may not only be an investment in formative learning, but there may also be strong signaling roles. Employers can benefit from taking prior performance in well-defined, relevant coursework into consideration as it is an indicator of what skills students can demonstrate from their studies that will be needed on the job. Overall, recognition of the institutional selection environment setting in which students and graduates are making decisions, shaping their skills, and their career paths is key to achieving diversity goals in the STEM workforce.

4. Strategies for Maximizing the Benefits of Relevant Course Work

Efforts can be made to inform potential students of the benefits of choosing relevant practical courses. This type of information can be delivered in the form of printed brochures and other program information documents. The information could also be disseminated through student meetings, and as a component of student recruitment visits. Existing students can be told of the advantages of practical courses as part of arrangements of student organizations at open house events and through the other traditional channels employed by institutions for communication with students. Further, providing the benefits of relevant coursework to faculties is equally important. Academic institutions that equip faculties with the type of information provided here can play a major role in persuading students to choose programs that include relevant or practical courses.

Given that relevant coursework can provide students with demonstrable benefits, students who are in a position to select the type and level of relevant coursework that is offered in their institutions and programs should be encouraged to act upon the opportunities to make that choice. But how can students be encouraged to join a program of study that includes a large component of relevant or practical courses, when students are often confronted with programs which are largely comprised of traditional academic courses, many of which are broadly liberal arts in nature? There are a number of potential strategies to achieve this end. One of the most important strategies is to provide students with clear descriptions of the practical advantages that can be obtained.

5. Conclusion and Future Directions

The inclination will then be to take more of them. Why did academic success predict a change in declared major? College can help ascertain career preferences. Educational institutions are also important in individuals’ re-evaluation of careers and life choices. noted that future scientists were identified and nurtured early in academic careers. That nurture started in college. Career advisors are increasingly likely to stress attending an institution that offers a relevant or rigorous program for those expecting to change fields. Colleges and universities recognize the importance of academic advising including first-year experiences, academic overview courses, and workshops on choosing majors to help ensure students stick with their choice of major. High schools are also aware of this concern, achieving a new record of 81% graduation rate for high school students. The high school graduation rate has increased 8% since 1996. Career planning is a national priority. Any linkage of academic success to career success should be seen as a success.

There are at least two explanations for the relationship between relevant coursework and academic success. The first is that relevant coursework contributes to a pre-college knowledge base making learning in college easier. There is research that speakers of the language of instruction perform better academically. The education systems in the United States tend to focus a lot more on breadth of knowledge versus depth of knowledge. Familiarity, in general, is helpful academically. The second is that academic success leads to recognition that prior career-related coursework was useful.

The primary limitation of this study is the creation of two meaningful measures of relevant coursework. The R1M and R2M examined relevant courses taken through two different lenses. As a requirement for success on both measures, actual relevant coursework was essential. However, when predicting overall college GPA, only one model had significant individual contribution from relevant coursework. It was also anomalous that coefficients of actual relevant coursework would be negative. On the R2M model, course GPA was higher than term GPA, indicating some courses may play a mitigation role.

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