College-to-Workplace Transitions: Becoming a Freshman Again

  • Paul I. Hettich


This chapter explores major issues encountered by many of the 1.5 million baccalaureate recipients each year (National Center for Educational Statistics 2006) who enter the workforce with inappropriate expectations, attitudes, job experiences, and levels of preparedness. Transition from college to a first full-time job is an exciting and much anticipated event, but it creates distress as well as eustress. Unlike the transition from high school to college, entry to the workplace represents a relatively clear demarcation from the past in one’s identity, sense of responsibility, independence, intellectual activities, relationships, and life-style. Consequently, this transition is also a period of incredible uncertainties and insecurity. After introducing the topic with four contrasting approaches to reporting on transition stress, I summarize models of transition and psychosocial and cognitive development that serve as a framework for understanding organizational and related factors that contribute to stress. I conclude with recommendations for increasing workplace readiness.


College Graduate Role Ambiguity Neutral Zone Role Stressor Transferable Skill 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The author gratefully acknowledges the comments and observations of Camille Helkowski and the critical reading and recommendations provided by Christine Anderson, Jerry Cleland, and Dee Konrad.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.AntiochUSA

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