Monday, May 23, 2011

Is college worth it?

That question has been asked by a lot of people since getting the latest employment numbers. This link shows a graph of employment rates of people at different levels of education.

Put simply, having a degree makes employment more likely. Right now about 7.5% of people with some college but no bachelor's degree are unemployed. The lower amount of education you have the higher the unemployment rate. While about 4.5% of those with at least a bachelor's degree are unemployed, yours truly being one of them.

So yeah, I think college is a good idea for most people. But I share some of the same thoughts on what I would do differently that other graduates do in the other graph in the link. I wouldn't have chosen a different major even though engineering and physical sciences have the highest rates of employment and have the most graduates performing a job directly related to their degree. I chose political science because I enjoyed it and I'm happy with that.

The two big things I would do differently would be to do an internship or part time job while in school, especially an internship. That is an important resume booster and it gives you practical experience. The other thing I would have done is to start looking for a job sooner. After I finished grad school I took a mental vacation and didn't actively start looking for a job for a month or so after I graduated. I should have been looking throughout my entire second year.

The state of the economy is really depressing. Believe me. Looking for a job for a year now is not the most confidence boosting endeavor. But I'm still confident my masters degree with pay off economically. Mentally I think it already has. It has taught me how to think and it was just personally satisfying to take on the challenge and prove I could do the work. So my advice to kids would be to go to college, pick something you like or think you will enjoy, and hope for a better economy when you graduate.

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