Experiential Learning Practices and Career Courses: Predictors of First Destination Outcomes

  •  Addye Buckley Burnell    
  •  Leslie A. Cordie    


This study examined connections between experiential learning practices, mandatory career courses, and positive first destination outcomes of graduates from a large public institution prior to and during the COVID-19 pandemic. The rising cost of education and competition among universities has led to consumer demands for information pertaining to their return on investment. Universities have been encouraged to provide first-destination outcomes for graduates as a way to show the value of their degree programs. To strengthen these outcomes, many programs encourage or mandate experiential learning known as high-impact practices (HIPs) and career courses to prepare emerging adult learners for the transition to employment or further education. However, little is known as to the impact these practices have on the first-destination outcomes of these graduating students. This study identified specific experiential practices which proved beneficial to securing employment or acceptance to continued education, with an important caveat that career courses added only limited benefit for some respondents. These findings will better inform the allocation of university teaching resources and are a basis for further study of career practices in higher education.

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