Giving College Students a Monster Advantage

November 2010

What do University of Maine, SUNY-Alfred State College, Texas State Technical College-Waco, and Ohio Northern University have in common? It’s obviously not location, not degrees or majors offered, not even campus size.

Yes, they all serve the educational needs of their students in unique and effective ways. Yes, they all have successful alumni who got their start on their campuses. But they also all share another less obvious characteristic. All of them have consistently given their first-year students a distinct and “Monster-ous” advantage—giving them a glimpse into a career crystal ball by hosting the Monster College Advantage presentation.

According to The American Freshman National Norms for Fall 2009, 84% of the first-year college students surveyed said they were going to college because they wanted to get a better job, and 73% said they were there because they wanted to make more money. Monster’s Making It Count Programs developed the Monster College Advantage presentation with the belief that more students will reach their goal of a better job upon graduation if they know, on “day one” of their college career, the rules and reality of the job search and hiring process that employers are going to follow. If students have defined career goals and know the criteria by which they will be judged, they will be able to craft a college experience that will open the doors they want, starting with their first semester on campus, even if they don’t yet know for sure which doors they want to open.

Formerly known as The Ultimate Road Trip, Monster College Advantage is a dynamic and energetic presentation, typically delivered to college students as a part of New Student Orientation, Welcome Week, First-Year Experience programs, as well as other school-specific first-year programming. The program is designed to empower students to own their college experience and is delivered by an entertaining, professional speaker.

Through presentations like Monster College Advantage, and thanks to a shared mission with educational partners that host the program year after year, Monster’s Making It Count continues to be successful in educating students about academic and career options available to them and in motivating them to set and reach their career goals. Together, Making It Count and their educational partners are working to ensure that first-year college students know that success is attainable and have started to put a plan in place to make it happen.

Autumn Outlaw, Student Engagement and Alumni Outreach Coordinator at Texas State Technical College-Waco, is one of those educational partners. This campus, which is part of the only state-supported technical college system in Texas, has been hosting Monster’s Making It Count Programs, particularly Monster College Advantage and its predecessor, The Ultimate Road Trip, as part of its New Student Orientation since 2005.

“I got the position of new student orientation coordinator about two-and-a-half years ago,” says Ms. Outlaw, “and the gentleman

[who had the position] before me handed off some paperwork to me and told me what a great program [Monster College Advantage] was and that there was no cost for it. And working on a very small budget, it was perfect for what we needed. It fit in really well with our orientation program.”

According to Ms. Outlaw, TSTC-Waco’s New Student Orientation, to which the parents of new students also are invited, is offered in seven sessions, starting at the end of June. Monster College Advantage is one of the first presentations the students and parents attend.

Ms. Outlaw thinks the Monster College Advantage presentation is beneficial to her school’s New Student Orientation because it sends the message that a successful college experience is key to getting a great job after graduation.

“I really think it reinforces that the reason you go to college is to get a job,” she says. “I think a lot of students, especially right out of high school, think ‘Oh, I’m going to college because I’m supposed to or it’s a next step or to meet people’—whatever [the reason] might be. But the real reason is to get an education and to get a job. [Monster College Advantage] helps reinforce that—the reason you’re here is to get hired by somebody, and here are the steps to help you get there.”

Ms. Outlaw says that part of the reason that Monster College Advantage is offered early in the orientation sessions is so that parents and students can hear the presentation together and benefit from being able to discuss it together.

“I get great feedback from parents, who say, ‘I’ve said that stuff for so long!’” Ms. Outlaw shares. “It’s great to hear [this information] from somebody [from Monster], who helps students find jobs; for [the students] to get another perspective on why it’s important for them to do the things they need to do, like sitting in certain areas of the classroom and being involved. Not only for students, but for parents, too, really, so they know what their students are hearing and can get them ready to go to college and be more of a serious student.”

Not only do parents have great things to say about Monster College Advantage; TSTC-Waco students do as well.

“I actually have some student ambassadors who, before they became ambassadors, had seen the program,” Outlaw relates. “And a year later, they said, ’Oh, I’m so glad I came! I learned so much! I’m so glad I knew to talk to my instructors and to get involved in clubs. I didn’t really know all there was to offer when I first came [to campus], but it helped me kind of hear from someone else, who didn’t work for TSTC, what else there is.’”

Outlaw says that TSTC-Waco leadership and faculty also have had positive reactions to the program as part of New Student Orientation. She says that, for them, “it’s a win-win: it’s a free program, plus it’s great information.”

Another campus that has made Monster’s Making It Count Programs a part of their orientation activities is SUNY-Alfred State College. The College has provided Making It Count’s program for first-year college students every August since 2005, as a part of their Welcome Week Program.

According to Nikkie Murphy, Student Activities Assistant, for Alfred State College, the Monster College Advantage presentation is delivered “in a series of rotations where a third of the incoming freshmen attend at a time. [The Monster College Advantage presentation] is a time where [students] receive pertinent information about how to be successful as college students.”

Ms. Murphy says the Monster College Advantage program enhances the success of Alfred State College’s first-year programming by providing information on “goal-setting and long-term planning, as well as time management.”

Whether students are attending a large public school, a smaller private school, a community college, or technical college, the keys to success are the same. The University of Maine, a public university, was one of the first schools to host the Making It Count program for their first-year students and has been doing so since 2001. “ [has] constantly been finding great statistical data about college academics in relation to career choice and continues to improve on the delivery of the information,” said Silverio Barrera, Assistant to the Coordinator of New Student Programs.

Adriane Bradshaw, Associate Dean of Students at Ohio Northern University, agrees: “The Monster College Advantage program is one of the highlights of our fall orientation. The information is very useful, and the presenters are quite engaging.” Ohio Northern has brought a Making It Count presentation to their campus as part of their new student orientation since 2003.

Monster’s Making It Count Programs have been providing programs like Monster College Advantage to high school and college students, and their families, since 1998. The programs have reached more than 23 million youth, parents, and educators in more than 5,800 high schools and 1,200 colleges.

The Monster College Advantage program is available June through October, at no cost to the colleges and universities that host it, thanks to the assistance of corporate sponsors such as Bank of America, Dell, Army ROTC, and American Petroleum Institute. For more information about Monster’s Making It Count, and its program for first-year college students, Monster College Advantage, please visit or call 1-877-668-1188.