Madison wrote:Ultimately I just think people should take a realistic look at college in every aspect prior to going and decide if the payoff is worth it to them or not. If they think it is, great, more power to them. But everyone should at least really look at what it costs them (time, money, etc) and what they are getting out of it. Article on the front page of Yahoo yesterday or the day before said 60% of graduates can't find a full time job in their field. And of course the people they quoted said stuff like "I thought I'd get a job easily!" and things of that nature. Those are people that didn't stop and look at reality before going to college.
Well, kids have two things going against them when making a decision about going to college.
One is time. Kids have a good idea of what they want to do in life by their teenage years, but those four years of high school sneak up on them fast. All the while, they're in that transition stage from teenage years into adulthood. It's awkward and often times not very fun. By the time many of those kids reach their senior year (junior year, even), they're ushered into preparing for college by their parents, teachers, and their peers. At this time, the outcome is binary: you go to college or you don't. Like I said, their career opportunities are likely limited compared to their later years and so, all the time they're left to think is taken up by a foregone conclusion of taking the road most taken.
The other thing is perspective. Teenagers are still growing in the way they view certain things and the world in general. However, they view things like morality, values, and motivation differently than they do as they grow older. I think a lot of kids think about their future, but for the most part, they're thinking of the here and now... Usually, that comes in the form of standardized tests, admission interviews, athletics, part-time work among other things.
Regarding expectations... well, the students' expectations are a byproduct of the environment around them too. Parents generally go by the mantra of "study hard to get to college, study well in college so that you get a good job". Teachers in general motivate their kids into working hard so that in the end, they'll get to college and get a good job. Much of this expectation is ingrained into those kids early on and into adulthood. In addition, many kids have confidence in their parents, teachers, and professors, because they know this from their own experiences. Once these kids get to college, their universities are likely to have the dedicated resources in helping them to get that job, in the form of career counseling, practice interviewing, courses, on-campus career fairs, and so on. This just increases confidence as well as those preconceived expectations, more so if you attended an Ivy League school. In the defense of parents, schools, and universities, each part of the ecosystem has a vested interest in their students doing well and getting a good job, for a variety of reasons.
That said, I do think many college grads and masters/doctorate graduates are aware of the rigors of finding a good job straight out of school. From that article you've quoted, those people interviewed are just airing out a general statement of their situation, but that doesn't totally reflect their awareness/scope completely. On that note, I know I've had a few professors who drove the point home that you had to look for a job at least by the start of your final quarter/semester. That way, you had an exit plan or two or more, just in case one or a few doors close. The positive with this approach obviously, is if you're rejected and you're still matriculating, you can better leverage your time and perceptions aren't likely to go against you. For example, if you took a two months "vacation" break since completing your degree, an employer can question your work ethic (and to a certain degree, they're right to).