Destination Unknown…

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What to do post-graduation???

Biomedical Sciences student Charlotte Jones can’t understand why there is so little information on offer about Postgraduate courses here at Southampton…

Having completed my second year of Biomedical Sciences at Southampton University, I decided to take a look at what my options were post-graduation. With little intention of furthering my degree in Biomedical Sciences, nor seeking graduate entry to medicine, I decided to look up other options available, specifically a postgraduate business course. At this point I thought it would be a good idea to speak to an advisor over at career destinations, after all I am a student seeking advice about careers…

The response, although politely written, was not quite what I was expecting… Other than leading me to the national careers service website, there was nothing about the options available at Southampton nor any advice on who would be best to contact within the university about enrolling in a postgraduate business course.

On a side note, the university offers 20 postgraduate business courses, varying from MBAs to MScis, all of this information I have found from external sources (see useful websites).

As some of you may know, the University of Southampton’s Careers Destinations no longer offers one-to-one career guidance or CV/Cover Letter assistance since September 2011. The only circumstance under which the University offer such services is if the student is registered with a learning disability with the University while pursuing their course.

So that’s it then, for the majority of current students at the University of Southampton we have group sessions on where to actually find this useful information, which is through external sites apparently. This means that for many students hoping to do a postgraduate degree at Southampton, their best bet is to act as though they have never been to Southampton and contact the University externally.

Is it just me or is this system flawed? No wonder many students are choosing to study a postgraduate course elsewhere. Why is it that the Careers Destinations service is able to cope with external students, but unable to guide current students in their future careers, other than the odd seminar about how to write a CV. Many students have said that although this is useful for understanding the basic content of a CV, it does not help an individual student apply and successfully get the job they want.

For most students, career guidance takes place in the form of the Excel Southampton Placement Programme, which makes applying for numerous placements and jobs quick and easy, but also impersonal as the advice is not course specific.

When asking fellow students for their opinions on the career guidance offered, the overwhelming response was that Careers Destinations needs to stop relying on vague e-mails and engage in more personal responses, preferably in the form of face-to-face contact. One student wrote “I didn’t feel that I could get everything I would need, help wise through them, as the only interaction I have had with them was my application to a placement through their Excel Placement Programme.”

Although this article is concentrating on Careers Destinations I actually think there is a wider issue in that the University seems to be struggling to maintain good communication with their current students, whilst encouraging new students to join instead. The best way for Southampton to encourage their students to stay on and do a Masters course here, is by keeping them well informed about all of the options available to them. Even if one-to-one sessions aren’t brought back, at least be able to answer a phone call or e-mail about opportunities for students.

For now it’s onto the national careers service website to find out the opportunities available at the University I am enrolled in.  Brilliant.

Useful websites:

For careers:

https://nationalcareersservice.direct.gov.uk/Pages/Home.aspx

For postgraduate courses and an easy way to request lot’s of prospectuses

http://www.whatuni.com/

The views expressed in this article are those of the individual and do not reflect those of the Wessex Scene as a publication.

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Discussion3 Comments

  1. avatar

    Good article, would have thought the uni would encourage students to stay on for post-grad study
    One thing that annoyed me though “The views expressed in this article are those of the individual and do not reflect those of the Wessex Scene as a publication” – on an article in the opinion section WELL I NEVER! Or is it to placate the angry media team at the uni?

  2. avatar

    Thank you for your comment 🙂 I also agree that this is a good article. I can understand your annoyance at my decision to indicate that these are Charlotte’s opinions but as the Editor I have taken your feedback on board. If you feel that it is unnecessary then we won’t do this in future. Once again thank you for commenting. x

  3. avatar

    Definitely agree! The Careers Service has definitely gone down hill, as has all information available to students from the various School Offices since the restructuring. The lady in the Faculty of Business and Law office has no clue about Management, as she was originally from the Law School, whereas the lady in the Faculty of Human and Social Sciences has no clue about Mathematics since she’s originally from the Social Sciences office! This whole restructuring and streamlining to cut costs for expansion has really had a negative impact.

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