Job Opportunities for Graduates Look Dim

Jocelyn Edwards, Austin Stearns
Guest Contributors

Many college graduates have high expectations for a job right out of college. The reality is, many of those expectations won’t be met.

“In today’s economy, recent college graduates are taking the first job that offers a paycheck – not necessarily the job their college education prepared them for,” said Baylor graduate Kevin Blair.

“The current job market has forced people to find refuge in a collegiate setting, only to accumulate debt that must be paid off,” said Arlington sophomore Kacie Evans.

“Paying thousands for a college education and then working at Burger King to pay it off is a scary thought,” Malia Gandt, a Flower Mound sophomore, said.

Gandt is currently working at a department store to start paying off the debt.

Coming out of college, many students do not look for their dream jobs but rather any job to start paying off college debt.

Up to 24 percent of students say that debt has affected their career choices. With rising tuition costs, students are finding the need to just make money, rather than practice a vocation passionately.

Former Baylor student Andy Eagan dropped out after a semester in order to work a paid internship of $100 a week. With his piled up debt from the semester, Eagan knew college wasn’t the place for him.

Eagan eventually found a job working a contract job with at a production company, which wasn’t connected to his field of study in education.

“The job is a great opportunity, but it really just pays the bills,” Eagan said,

“The company can keep me as a contractor, but with no future of promotion.”

Rutgers University found that since 2006, only 51 percent of graduates went into full time employment coming out of college. “Opportunities available for college graduates in a slowly increasing job market are dim,” said USA Today college writer Eliza Collins.

Stories similar to Gandt and Eagan’s are seen across the nation. Students go to college and exit with debt that forces them into a paying job that may not match their degree.

There are success stories, however.

Jason Wilson graduated from college with internships and work experience in the field backing him up. As a business major with a focus on production work, Wilson was set to go to work full time as a production manager with a touring company.

Internship and career counseling provided by colleges provide a way to network and secure a future in a specific job market.

Evans said she was confident in finding a job because of the career-counseling services at Baylor.

“They really get to know your interest and match you up with amazing contacts who want to meet you,” Evans said.

“Graduates who found a job they studied for and had an internship before leaving college made 15 percent more that those who did not intern,” Collins said.

“It is rare for jobs to fall into your lap, so working hard and networking is the fastest way to achieve your goals,” Baylor graduate Clayton Hill said.

High school and college counselors are now being trained to guide students on career paths that will better guarantee a job upon graduation.

Dallas student counselor Kimberly Trask is also steering her students to apply forinternships and practicum programs.

She said she believes that building a strong portfolio is the key to finding employment in a field of study after graduation.

Participating in internships and other activities related to the job a student is going to school for can help that student find a job coming out of college.