Agricultural Leadership, Education, and Communication, Department of


Date of this Version



New Directions for Student Services, no. 138 (Summer 2012), pp. 5–12; doi: 10.1002/ss.20002


Copyright © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Used by permission.


What role do colleges and universities play in preparing students for life after college? Much like parents who continually balance caring for their child versus carrying their child, colleges and universities must define their role in educating students in a way that will assist them not only during their time as students, but for the long term as well. Historical context informs the work of student affairs professionals and others in higher education in striking the right balance in helping prepare students for life after college, but significant new pressures face students, their mentors, and educational institutions today.

This chapter discusses the contexts that shape the work of student affairs professionals and their colleagues in helping students prepare for life after their undergraduate experience. That discussion begins with a brief review of the historical context and then moves to a lengthier review of the contemporary context.