Smart Talk

Smart Talk is a daily, live, interactive program featuring conversations with newsmakers and experts in a variety of fields and exploring a wide range of issues and ideas, including the economy, politics, health care, education, culture, and the environment.  Smart Talk airs live every week day at 9 a.m. on WITF’s 89.5 and 93.3.

Listen to Smart Talk live online from 9-10 a.m. weekdays and at 7 p.m. (Repeat of 9 a.m. program)

Host: Scott LaMar

Smart Talk: How professional are today's college students?

Written by Scott LaMar, Smart Talk Host/Executive Producer | May 26, 2014 3:26 PM

What to look for on Smart Talk Tuesday, May 27, 2014:

2 young professional women 300 x 170.jpg

College students more entitled, but are they more professional?  And what do they feel entitled to?

A survey of more than 400 college and university career development professionals conducted by York College’s Center for Professional Excellence (CPE) shows students have a sense of entitlement or at least more than students entering the workforce five years ago.  Meanwhile the study also finds that these same students are exhibiting more professionalism as they transition from college to careers. 

Of the institutions studied, two-thirds have increased their focus on professionalism.  Students are encouraged to visit their school’s career office to develop “work ready” skills such as communication, being prepared, and dressing properly but also are taught interview skills, arriving on time, and dining etiquette. 

Ultimately, the survey finds students are most accountable for their level of professionalism followed by the colleges' career development programs, faculty and parents. 


David Polk and Matthew Randall

Matthew Randall and David Polk of York College Career Development Center will be on Smart Talk Tuesday to discuss the findings of their study.

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  • Lisa img 2014-05-27 08:21

    How much does the guest think that today's educational system of charter schools and home schooling have given college students the feeling that they are entitled to set their own hours?

    I do agree with college students desire to start with 4 weeks vacation a year. Good for them! They might finally push our nation into a reasonable view of vacation. This is something that everyone should have. Companies in many other countries give their employees much more vacation than this and I don't think it is too much to ask. This one is across generations -- I graduated from college over 20 years ago.

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2014-05-27 08:24

    I teach at a liberal arts college. You mentioned communicating to parents about services the college offers. While I understand this, understand that this is NOT the parent’s job or responsibility: it is the STUDENT’S. Students must learn that their parents should not be helping them find a job. This to me is the whole problem of why students aren’t self-sufficient. They constantly depend on others for feed-back, for advice, etc.

    I’ll share this story: once, I was helping my student choose courses for her next semester. Imagine my surprise when we finished, and she said, “Let me call my Mom to make sure these classes are OK with her.”

    My advice is to take parents out of the equation as much as possible so our college students can learn to stand on their own two feet. If not, they’ll be adult “toddlers” all their lives!


  • jjones img 2014-05-27 08:30

    It's interesting, and somewhat disheartening since they are the "role models," to hear how often radio commentators and their guests are careless with their grammar and general use of the English language. How do we teach others how to interact well, improve their communication abilities, and sound professional if their role models err so often?

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2014-05-27 08:51

    I am a parent of a teen who will be listening to this podcast! The information conveyed is so very appropriate for all teenagers. Face to face conversation and hand written notes go a long way with future employers and professionals.

    Thank you for illuminating this topic!


  • Kevin Kapaun img 2014-05-27 09:18

    Woo-hoo! Scot LaMar read my email on Smart Talk today.
    My day has been made -- before 10 a.m. B-)
    This is what I wrote:
    #1 professionalism tip (IMO): LISTEN.
    #2 -- "shut up" and LISTEN.

    I'd like to add this: For 99.9% of us, HR is not the department we are trying to be hired into when we apply for a job. While HR is necessarily the "face" of the company we first encounter, do not judge the company based on HR. My suggestion it to treat the application process as a completely impersonal test to be passed in order to get to "the next level" -- actually speaking with someone in the desired department. HR folks are generally overwhelmed with applications. Even if they could respond to all applicants, they generally do not for practical and legal reasons. Take no response as a "No", and do not take it personally. Either try to figure out why you got the "No" and re-apply or just move on.

    • Lisa img 2014-05-27 18:55

      I agree. When I was hiring, I would actually get annoyed by the people who "followed up" a day or two later, especially when their follow up was really just trying to see if they got the job and not to sincerely thank you for the interview. The interviews were above and beyond my normal job responsibilities which were already many. We were interviewing many candidates and the interviews were spread out over several weeks. If you must "follow-up", send a written thank you or keep your follow up calls to the HR person -- it IS part of their paid job.

  • Gabriella H. Grosso img 2014-05-28 11:03

    I am so bored by this conversation. When will you "grown ups" stop harping on about the "entitled" millennial generation and open your eyes to the facts:

    The Millenial Generation is the youngest children of the Baby Boomers, inheriting a bankrupt economy and coming into the workforce with six-figure debt. Damn right, I feel entitled! It used to be that a person could graduate from high school and have an expectation that there would be a job that could support themselves and their families. Now, I need a Bachelor's degree to have hope of that same level of comfort. To differentiate yourself even a little bit - to have that "X" factor - you need a graduate degree. All of this to have even half of the benefits my parents had starting out - a job that pays my bills, a retirement plan, some hope that I will be able to stop working before I kick the bucket on the job one day.

    Never again tell me I'm an entitled brat. Have some empathy. Enjoy sucking up all my social security benefits.

  • jamescollic img 2014-09-23 22:41

    Find the best profession in hospitality career.