“Breathe. Let go. And remind yourself that this very moment is the only one you know you have for sure.”
Can you believe it’s already Halloween? Spooky season, full of dancing skeletons and pumpkin-colored treats.
In fact, the only thing more terrifying than ghosts and evil spirits is the fact that we seniors will be graduating next spring!
More graduating seniors in 2020 than ever before are attending graduate school. Graduate schools allows students to specialize in specific fields, and have more competitive resumes, but I don’t believe this type of commitment is a good idea for everyone1 (https://www.montclair.edu/newscenter/2020/09/18/graduate-enrollment-sees-unprecedented-growth/ ).
Graduate school costs a lot of money and on top of those costs, the student loans from undergraduate school may need to be paid back as well. (Sure, you can defer those loans, but will the overall costs of undergraduate and graduate loans be worth it in the end?)
It’s important that we consider many different possibilities and act accordingly. In my opinion, let’s do what we can to improve our odds2! (https://www.franklin.edu/blog/how-much-does-a-masters-degree-cost)
While I love the prospect of attending graduate school, it would be bad if I neglected the entire career world. Yes, we are in the middle of a pandemic and we don’t know what the future holds, but we can’t let that stop us from taking action to improve the near future!
I’ve been searching for resources, facts, and figures to show you, to give you some hope, and help motivate you to continue persisting this fall. However, finding specific information to answer my MANY career questions was not as easy as expected.
Side note: this is why I love C3. They answer questions search engines cannot.
For example, what is the likelihood that I will be hired for a job within the first three months of graduating college? How has the pandemic affected employer hiring practices? How is our job hunt different from Coe alumni?
It turns out that data like this takes time to gather, which is why I couldn’t find basic answers to my basic answers (yes, I am salty). For your sake, I persisted and managed to find some answers.
For starters, let’s compare the outcomes of Coe graduates to the national average. A majority of students who graduate from Coe do go straight into the workforce, afterall3. (https://www.niche.com/colleges/coe-college/after-college/) Coe’s graduation rate is 66% compared to the national average of only 49%.
This means that almost half of those who attend college will graduate, while almost two-thirds of students graduate from Coe. 61% of Coe students graduate within four years, on the other hand, 62% of students complete their degrees within six years4 5. (https://www.collegesimply.com/colleges/iowa/coe-college/outcomes/) (https://nces.ed.gov/programs/coe/indicator_ctr.asp)
What the Job Market Really Looks Like
I know some of you may be wondering why I specified “three months” in my question earlier in this post. The answer is that I already know it’s unlikely that I’d land my dream job right after graduation (especially in the spring of 2021).
Why? Because it takes the average college graduate three to six months to secure employment after graduation6.(https://www.washington.edu/doit/what-can-students-do-improve-their-chances-finding-employment-after-college)
Does three months seem like a long time? Perhaps consider the fact that 53% of college graduates were unemployed or employed, but working in a job that didn’t require a bachelor’s degree, last spring.
The jobs immediately available may not be those three-figure careers you’ve been dreaming of.
I was able to find a source detailing employment stats about college graduates, but it’s sample population were 25 to 34 years olds (not gen Z). This population was on average 87% employed (91% men, 83% women) after obtaining a bachelor’s degree7. (https://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=561)
There is one website that focuses on people in our age group, meaning the data is actually relevant for college students: Brookings.edu’s meet the millions of young adults who are out of work8. (https://www.brookings.edu/research/young-adults-who-are-out-of-work/)
In 2019, 6% of the total out-of-work young adults were recent college graduates (22 to 24 years old). 47% percent of the people in the total people in this group were employed, with 58% of the total people in this group continuing to look for work. 66% of our fellow young adults (college grads) lived with their parents, living the middle class lifestyle, while approximately, 25% lived below the poverty line. Yikes!
Living below the poverty line sounds scary, but there could be a variety of reasons for this. For example, entry-level positions tend to pay less in general. There’s also the fact that many people are underpaid for their work, but that’s another conversation.
So what if a college degree isn’t your golden ticket to your dream salary? The benefits still outweigh the cons (in my opinion). Don’t believe me? Keep reading, I’ll change your mind.
Helpful Sources (to learn more about the current workforce):
US Unemployment Rates by State:
Understanding Unemployment Rates and the Economy:
A Graduate’s Ultimate Guide to the Post-Grad Job Search: https://medium.com/the-post-grad-survival-guide/a-graduates-ultimate-guide-to-the-post-grad-job-search-901458b6dc86
Benefits of Earning a College Degree
Current Covid-Related Job Stats
This is one of a series of posts I’m bringing over from my time as a student blogger at my undergrad alma mater.