It took four years, endless study sessions, plenty of cheap meals and likely some sleepless nights, but the Class of 2018 officially earned their degrees. So what's next?
The Class of 2018 Career Report, compiled by LendEDU, sheds some light on what these recent graduates are thinking. Of the 1,000 four-year college students surveyed, an increasing number are already stressing over their professional futures, with a stronger focus on careers, full-time salaries and advancements than in previous years.
Here are some of the key findings from the report:
Focusing on their careers According to the results, the majority of 2018 graduates have either already secured a full-time job (41.3 percent) or are actively searching for one (34.4 percent). That leaves those taking the summer or next year to figure out their plans among the minority, making up just 24.3 percent of the surveyed graduates. For those who already have a full-time position, they reported finding the job through means such as mutual connections, previous internships and college career programs. While many are eager to do so, 31.2 percent of the graduates felt finding a job was the most nerve-racking aspect of entering post-graduate life.
Considering going back to school With such a strong focus on securing full-time jobs, it makes sense that many students are already thinking about going back to school. When asked if they've considered pursuing an advanced degree to improve their employment chances, 35.76 percent of the graduates responded that they are actively considering it, while 27.62 percent have at least thought about an advanced degree for this purpose.
This common thought process may be due to the fact that a small portion of the graduates felt the reason they haven't secured a full-time job yet is because they "pursued the wrong degree in college" and a little over 20 percent felt the issue was a lack of connections. Case in point is Cooper Ferguson, a recent graduate from Bryan College who has already enrolled in graduate school. He shared his experience with Moneyish, explaining that desperation to find a job influenced his decision.
"I realized that many of the jobs I was looking into said they would prefer a graduate degree. I always thought that an undergrad degree would be enough to at least start on the ground floor of somewhere, but it looked like I was wrong," he said.
Another reason for the desire to go back to school may be because they are seeking higher salaries. A common worry among 2018 graduates is their financial situations, namely budgeting and being able to afford taxes and other post-college expenses. Nearly 40 percent of the surveyed graduates found this to be the scariest part of graduating, earning its place as the top fear - over and above finding a job.
Understanding the implications of the decision While earning an advanced degree can certainly improve job and salary prospects, there are several factors to consider before taking the plunge. Many in academia advise against enrolling in a graduate school program just for the sake of earning an advanced degree.
"An advanced degree is a considerable investment, and it is only worthwhile if a student is fully committed to the goals they hope to accomplish with a graduate degree," career counselor Dr. Kat Cohen told Moneyish.
With that said, it pays to invest some time in considering whether going back to school is a smart decision. Questions to ask when weighing the option include:
Why do you want to pursue an advanced degree?
What can you do with a graduate or professional degree?
Does earning an advanced degree align with your career goals?
Which area of study most interests you?
Do you meet graduate school admission requirements?
Are you willing to relocate to take graduate-level courses?
Can you afford the tuition?
If you're a recent grad who can confidently answer these questions, you may be on a clear path to graduate school. The next step is to start researching programs to find the right one for your career interests and professional goals. GraduateGuide.com can make your search an easy one, serving as your comprehensive directory to various schools and advanced programs. Get going on your journey to graduate school today!
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