Study groups for a class 81.5 Received mentoring advice from a faculty member 70.1 Community or other volunteer activity other than an internship or class project 63.5 Saw a career advisor 56.0 Jobs fairs, on-campus interviews by firms, career-related mentorship programs, or other networking opportunities 52.5 Internship 50.9 Work with a group advocating some cause 50.7 Service learning project 47.3 Independent study or research project with faculty member 35.1 Leadership development program 31.0 AKD or other sociology club 24.8 Study abroad 21.8 Department honors program 18.7 Attended local, national, or regional sociology meeting 15.8 T ABLE 3. A CTIVITY P ARTICIPATION (P ERCENT ) Source: American Sociological Association. Social Capital, Organizational Capital, and the Job Market for New Sociology Graduates Survey , 2012. SUMMARY S ociology is not a vocational discipline per se , but rather a scientific discipline that teaches concepts and skills—the reasons that almost all students major. Nonetheless, many departments—especially those at Master’s comprehensive universities—do attempt to create out-of-class activities and encourage majors to participate in them so as to increase their social capital through contacts and networks that provide re- sources such as access to employment. Activities such as internships and participation in sociology clubs such as Alpha Kappa Delta can increase graduates’ attractiveness to employers and to graduate depart- ments. In addition, activities such as participating in community organizations can fulfill majors’ desire to “change society”—a reason for majoring chosen by almost three-quarters of respondents. As noted, we found that some out-of-class activities are relatively ubiquitous across sociology programs, while other types of departmentally-supported applied and peer activities are relatively rare. Still, almost all students participated in at least one such activity, with an average of seven out of 15 per student. Contrary to the views of the NAS, we have no evidence that de- partmental sponsorship of such activities reduces the academic rigor of majors. By contrast, student partici - pation may well enhance student success, while also boosting their satisfaction. Of course, students cannot participate in such activi - ties unless they are made aware of them. We suggest that students at baccalaureate institutions may have heightened levels of participation in such activities because the smaller size of such colleges may facilitate communication about activities both among students and between faculty and students. While department chairs at Master’s institutions report greater depart - mental emphasis on “real world” application and the development of peer networks, they may be less successful in alerting students to the opportunities available. Consequently, departments might consider new or improved ways of translating departmental commitment into student knowledge. Ease of finding these activities on department websites is certainly one way that can increase student participation.
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