Jobless college grad sues alma mater

As my college graduation approached some years ago, I was jobless and scared. I decided I’d enlist in the Navy and work in communications. To my relief, with a persistent pursuit and the help of advisors at my alma mater, I was offered a job just in time.

Apparently, the recent Monroe College graduate who has garnered attention for her plans to sue the college for what she describes as the school’s poor effort in getting her a job, hasn’t been so fortunate. She’s not alone, though. She graduated with a 2.7 grade point average and a bachelor’s degree in information technology three months ago, in the teeth of a deep recession.

Yet, she wants payback — literally — for the $72,000 she spent on tuition and for the stress that has come with an unfruitful job search.

CNN.com tells the story of Trina Thompson, a 27-year-old from the Bronx in New York. Thompson told CNN:

“They’re supposed to say, ‘I got this student, her attendance is good, her GPA is all right — can you interview this person?’ They’re not doing that,” she said.

A lot of people might advise Thompson to stand in line along with thousands of Americans — recent grads, mid-career folks and seasoned veterans — who like her are looking for work.

“This is the most challenging year we’ve seen,” Catherine Neiner, director of career planning at Agnes Scott College in Decatur told the AJC in May about job placement efforts for graduates.

But there are more focused actions Thompson and other college graduates can take, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. Here are the highlights:

  • Focus and take action: Identify your specific job market — the kind of work you want to do, and the industries and companies where your skills and abilities would be a good fit.
  • Expand your network: Use your college career services center, family friends, professors, alumni and other contacts to help you find openings and opportunities.
  • Create a business card: Create an inexpensive business card that lists your name, college, career field and contact information. Also use online networking, like LinkedIn.
  • Join a professional association: Meet others in your field by volunteering in your field and joining professional organizations.

Many recent college graduates have decided to go on to graduate school, get post-graduate internships, work overseas and volunteer, among other choices.

What advice would you have for recent graduates? What do you think of Thompson’s choice to sue her alma mater?

Have a story idea? Email rcash@ajc.com

5 comments Add your comment

Steven J.

August 4th, 2009
6:00 pm

I am an IT recruiter with over 20 years in the industry, and Trina has certainly accomplished one thing – she has guaranteed that she will not be working in the IT field for some time.

She does have name recognition within the industry now – NEGATIVE name recognition. On a conference call today, a co-worker noted that she had actually seen Trina’s resume – she actually and proudly claims her 2.7 GPA and attendance record on the resume! Sorry, Trina, but a 2.7 for a new college graduate is not going to cut it in any job market, much less during a major recession.

By the way, your college is not actually what we in the IT world consider a reputable, honorable institution with a solid track record of training IT professionals. We sort of see it as a diploma mill.

Maybe you should sue yourself for bad judgement. Or sue your Mom – she is “supportive” of you after all.

Randy Daniel

August 4th, 2009
6:05 pm

My advice to Thompson is to get a good lawyer. With a good enough settlement, she may never need a job.

Alton E. Drew

August 5th, 2009
5:43 am

I had to learn my lesson the hard way but looking back it was always about networking. The best jobs I ever had came about from who I knew and the relationships I established. I don’t think a college is obligated to help find you a job but colleges should help students keep it real about identifying opportunities, especially in this type of job market. Students should be taught to establish and maintain relationships from day one.

Christina

August 5th, 2009
9:17 am

Um, if she’s mentioning her 2.7 GPA on her resume, perhaps a resume writing service is in order. Your GPA should only be included if it was exceptional (hint – I don’t include my GPA and it was 3.4). And even then, it’s not as if you’re going to be graded on the job, so they’re looking more for skills not grades.

I do NOT think she should sue, it wouldn’t be right, even if she won. The school isn’t responsible for her lack of a job; it’s responsibility ended with her education. If the school said she was educated (gave her the degree) and she was not actually, then she might have some valid basis to sue it.

SmartGurl

August 13th, 2009
11:38 pm

Wow! Why didn’t I think of this!! Schools suck you in with all of this crap that they need educated, computer professionals when bottom line is, they are a business. You spend the money and you spend the time…and all you end up with is DEBT!! I wish Trina all the best! I believe she can win and boy, what a precedent that will set! All she needs is the right attorney to present her case and she will hit a homerun! Go Trina! You are more talented than you think!!