This article comes from the Campus Contributor Network. Over the course of the semester, students from across our campus outreach program will analyze their school’s finances and assess the overall return students see on their educational investments.
Many prospective college students question whether or not it’s still worth it to pursue a degree. The cost of education continues to rise and it is becoming harder for recent graduates to find jobs.
However, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, unemployment rates for people without college degrees are much higher than for those with college degrees. The unemployment rate for people with Bachelor’s degrees is around 2.8 percent while the unemployment rate for people with only a high school diploma is around 5.4 percent. People with professional degrees experience the lowest unemployment rate (1.5 percent) followed closely by those with doctoral degrees (1.7 percent).
This large gap in unemployment figures is evidence that getting a degree is still worth the investment, but as the demands of the workforce shift, we will require a modern education system that meets the changing needs of its students.
Who gets paid?
According to CNBC, the three highest-paying careers in the United States are physicians (median base salary of $180,000), lawyers ($144,500) and research and development managers ($142,120). Although obtaining a college degree is still worth it, is getting a Bachelor’s degree enough anymore?
This isn’t even that new of a question. An article from the Huffington Post in 2013 stated that, “those with advanced degrees have experienced substantial wage growth over the last 10 years. The same can’t be said for people holding only bachelor’s degrees.”
Although obtaining a Bachelor’s degree still seems to be enough for now, it seems that obtaining an advanced degree will be the most surefire way to maintain a job and wage security in the future.
The skills you need
According to USA Today, the top five skills that employers look for in college graduates are people skills, problem-solving skills, oral communication skills, leadership skills and written communication skills. These skills are certainly ones that can be learned through the college experience, but are often not emphasized by a traditional course load. If universities focus solely on helping students graduate, they risk failing to adequately prepare them for entrance into the workforce.
It is important that all students are given the opportunity to learn and develop professional skills while in college. Although hard skills, such as coding and data analytics, are important, soft skills, like networking and leadership, are often just as important. Many employers refuse to hire “qualified” candidates if they lack critical communication and teamwork skills. These soft skills have become increasingly important, partially due to the increasing number of people competing for jobs, and can be the difference between being employed or unemployed.
However, the University of Florida certainly makes an effort to help students foster the skills mentioned above. Through involvement in student organizations, attending career showcases and captilazing on excellent career preparation resources, students can attain the skills necessary to succeed in the workforce.
Education for the future
To meet these needs, GenFKD is launching a new educational initiative at Colorado State University next semester and hopes to implement it across the country in the near future. The initiative aims to, “[assure] students a place in the 21st century landscape by preparing all students not just for a job, but for long-term success after graduation.”
The in-demand skills of today are different than they were only 10-15 years ago, and they will continue to change. Therefore, having an educational system that equips students with these evolving skills is crucial for what lies after graduation.
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