Students weigh post-graduation options

Earn a university degree and get a job. This formula has always worked with relative success for many graduates. Many graduates go further in their studies and earn master’s degrees while others take time off completely for a little break before venturing in job hunting. 

Ronald Campos joined Sonoma State University as a sophomore three years ago. He, like many other graduates from around the country, is hopeful that he will land himself a good paying job in his related field of study after he graduates this semester. 

“I will just go ahead and try finding a full time job out there that pays well,” Campos said. “I do not want to go back and live with my parents after graduation.” 

According to the National Center For Education statistics, in the fiscal year of 2014 - 2015, there were 1.9 million Bachelor’s degrees conferred. It is a fact that more and more individuals are taking college education seriously. With this in mind, many students wonder what lies ahead for them. 

“There is a lot of excitement and anxiety before graduation because there is that feeling that one has finished his or her undergraduate, but then there is also the feeling of wondering what kind of job one will land,” Campos said.

A recent study from the Left-leaning Economic Policy Institute said young graduates are still suffering from an underemployment rate of 12.6 percent, compared with 9.6 percent in 2007, before the recession started. At the same time, many young graduates are entering the workforce with higher levels of financial debt because of the raising tuition fees that have increased way faster than a median family income can afford. 

“I feel better knowing that I am going out there to the job market with a bachelor’s degree at hand compared to an applicant with no credentials whatsoever,” Campos said. “I feel that the job market is harder to those with no Bachelor’s degree.”  

A survey conducted by Accenture PLC showed that 54 percent of U.S students between the ages of 18 and 24 who graduated in 2016 consider themselves underemployed, or working in positions that don’t fully utilize their skills. About 49 percent accepted a lower salary or fewer benefits than they anticipated, and 44 percent found it difficult to get a job. The survey, which was conducted earlier this year, was released after 1,000 college attending students within its parameters were questioned.

There is more competition in the job market than ever before with employers looking for highly skilled individuals with higher degrees. It may be helpful for graduating students to have secondary options beyond earning a Bachelor’s degree. Taking other short professional courses and getting certified could be a big push for determined students.