Attend College or Find a Job?

your people questionCongratulations, you have just graduated from high school. What are your next steps – college or finding a job? We do not know precisely what your plans are, but we can tell you what most of the high school graduates are doing.

During the recession period, we saw so many students signing up for various college programs. Now that the job market has turned for the better, fewer students are continuing their education. A recent study claims that of all the high school students who graduated last year, over 33% of them have not signed up for any colleges. The current enrollment of students at colleges is around 65.9%, which is the lowest value to be recorded in the past 10 years. The year before that was 66.2% and in 2009, it was 70%. The percentage is declining if you look at trends.

The question is; why is this happening? Yes, you are right, cost is one major factor. In the past few years, college tuition fees have risen sharply and affordability is a becoming a problem for many students.  Instead of attending colleges, all these students have chosen work, and are trying to find a job for themselves.

What about the rest of the students for whom affordability is not much of an issue? If they are also not attending colleges, what are they doing? All these students are showing an interest in four year programs rather than the two year programs offered at colleges. Students may not be opting for college, but their interest in education has not decreased. Instead, they are looking around for better opportunities, and do not mind paying the higher fees associated with four year programs.

While four year programs are more costly, they do increase your chances of enrollment and acquiring better salary packages. Several other studies support this. The stats for March show that the unemployment rate among people who are over 25 and have no college degree is 6.3%. In the same age group, the unemployment rate for a four year degree is around 3.4%.

If we broaden the time period, the stats get better and favor four year programs even more. For people with a bachelor’s degree, the unemployment rate is around 3.8% and for people with fewer qualifications than this, the unemployment rate is 12.1%. Now the gap is even more prominent.

So what will your decision be? College or finding a job?


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