SeekUT deserves more widespread promotion

Abby Krishnan

There are nearly 170 colleges and universities in the state of Texas, making the decision to attend UT a complicated choice. The SeekUT online portal can help make that decision easier. SeekUT presents comprehensive information on the earnings and graduate outcomes from schools in the UT System. Specifically, it has the median earnings of UT graduates working full time in 300 areas of study alongside median student loan debt. Students can separately view prospects at the undergraduate, graduate and medical levels.

Although SeekUT can be extremely useful for students, the tool isn’t being leveraged to its full potential by the University. The advising and career offices in the colleges at UT should  advertise SeekUT as a resource, so that students can take the next step in preparing for their future.

As college costs are rising and more students are becoming financially vulnerable because of the high amounts of student debt they take on, it becomes more important for students to plan out their future. A visualization of post-graduation data makes it easier for students to create real plans from the degree they work towards.

A student can view the most common industries those with their prospective degree end up in with SeekUT. This information can help a student seek out resources and professors at UT that are specific to an industry, providing focus in their studies.  It's hard to land your dream job when you’re getting the wrong degree, which is why this kind of information is essential for understanding how a degree fits into your future plans.

Stephanie Huie, the Vice Chancellor for the Office of Strategic Initiatives for the UT System, explained that for many prospective students, the median income statistics have come as a surprise. As a result, SeekUT has encouraged many nontraditional students to pursue higher education, as well as encouraged students to pursue degrees typically considered to be non-lucrative, such as liberal and fine arts. Huie’s data shows that nearly 85% of users would recommend SeekUT to others.

Currently, very few people on campus look to SeekUT for a solution. Part of the problem is that university career resources aren’t directing any students towards SeekUT. Upon contact via email, a representative from the Vick Center, the premier office on campus for career counseling, informed me that “they do not use SeekUT, and so it has no effect on their current academic and career advising procedures.” Additionally, representatives from the College of Natural Sciences advising center explained in an email that they have not had students or prospective students ask about SeekUT. As a result, they claimed that “they didn’t feel like they knew enough about [SeekUT] to comment.”

Rather than adopting a wait-and-see approach as the CNS career counselors have towards SeekUT, advisors across the University should be encouraging students to use it in  their academic decision making. These centers are in a unique position to target and aid the students most unsure about their future path. These are the students that could most benefit from SeekUT, and the University should use all of their current resources to empower their education.

SeekUT equips students with confidence in their future. It is a great way of helping prospective college students make tough decisions, and the university should ensure that students know of its potential.

Krishnan is a computer science sophomore from Plano, TX. Follow her on Twitter @theamazingabby