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Research examines how liberal arts grads fare in the job hunt

JULY 16, 2012
by Shannice Singletary ’14, Contributing Writer

Life after college can seem daunting. After successfully maneuvering through four years and finally having a diploma in hand, many grads find themselves up against a whole new set of hurdles. From securing a job in a bad economy, to finding an affordable place to live, to paying back school loans, today’s grads really have to hit the ground running.

Sociology professor Allison Hurst is conducting summer research that monitors students from liberal arts colleges to find out how their job searches actually play out. Assisting her are two Furman Advantage students Sarah Harrison and Jenna Barnett.

Barnett’s research is focused on job placement, how a student’s major selection influences his or her employment, and how important a student’s extracurricular activities are in the application process.

“I thought extracurricular activities in college were just for fun, so I was surprised by how much employers actually look at what students do outside academics,” says Barnett.

Harrison is focusing on the debt burden many newly grads face, and she says her research has uncovered quite a few horror stories.

“It was intimidating to look at the debt burden and see how hard some people struggle. I didn’t realize how bad private loans can be, and I’m really thankful to have learned so much about them,” she says.

Professor Hurst, who is in her third year of working with Furman Advantage research assistants says their work has been nothing short of amazing.

“They’ve done a tremendous job. They’ve been excellent. I throw all kinds of things at them,” says Hurst.

“And we catch it,” Harrison adds.

“Yes,” Hurst adds with a smile, “and you do excellent things with it.”

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