Diploma Depression: The Biggest Issues College Graduates Are Facing

Business.com / Careers / Last Modified: February 22, 2017

Unfortunately, there are a few negative consequences that many graduates are facing as a result of their undergraduate experience.

For some people, college is known as the best four years of your life. It is a time when you get to be free, independent, and have access to a wide range of resources and outlets that help you figure out a career and lifestyle. 

For many, college is a time of choices and decisions that shape who you are as a person, and define your interests. The opportunity of higher education, and its implication in terms of career aspirations afterward, is widely considered a huge advantage and a worthwhile experience. 

In fact, getting a college degree has become a staple in our society, with the opportunity have become an expectation.

Unfortunately, there are a few negative consequences that many graduates are facing as a result of their undergraduate experience.   

Related Article: Reality Bites: Tips For New Grads Breaking Into The Real World

The four years in college are not always followed by simplicity and ease in the following years as an employee. A few of the struggles post-grads face include loans, career choice, and job availability.

1. Loans

Loans have been an increasingly impactful source of distress for college graduates. With student loan interest rates increasing, paying off debt has become more difficult. This problem spans nationally, with over one million students taking out loans each year. The rising cost of college is a primary causal factor for this, and makes it more challenging for families and students to afford college. Loans, along with grants and scholarships, are one of the major ways that students are able to afford college. 

Even with loans, many students are still left with a significant gap between the cost of attending college and their financial aid awards.  Because of this, private student loans have become increasingly popular. Because of loans, many graduates are forced to make payments for years or even decades after they graduate. Although the problem is so widespread, not everyone realizes the net implications. 

Currently, there is over 16 percent of borrowers behind in their payments, adding to the nation’s $1.2 trillion in college loans. Student debt has become a hot topic of conversation and even a campaign issue for the 2016 election.

2. Career Choice

More frequently than ever before, college graduates are finding a separation between their major and their career options. The job market is sometimes more narrow then the college major selection, and thus many students choose courses that fall outside their potential or desired career. 

For students who major in non-technical areas of study, which is the majority of students, choosing a career path is often complicated by the topics they studied in college. Many graduates are realizing that their field of study is not easily hirable, or not applicable to an area they want to go into. 

In fact, recent studies have drawn a significant correlation between a college degree and level of income. Findings show that your college major can make a big impact your career earnings, with people who study areas like petroleum engineering and pharmaceutical sciences earning $3.4 million more in their lifetimes than those with lower-paying fields. Majors correlated with lower income include studio art, social work, and childhood education.

Related Article: Why An MBA Degree Isn't As Prestigious As It Once Was

3. Job Availability

Along with career choice, job availability is another issue that is causing distress to graduates. The job market is tough, and for graduates without a succinct or planned out career approach, finding a job can be especially difficult. 

The job market in the US, while on the rise, is still inefficient given the needs of recent graduates and new workers. Because the level of demand outmatches, in many cases, the degree of supply, employers are forced to use strict hiring procedures to weed out candidates. 

For graduates who did not study or experience the line of work they wish to enter during college, there are often additional hurdles in place.  However, different areas in the country will have different rates of hiring and job availability.

According to the Employment Outlook Survey, the top spot for new hiring this year is Cape Coral area on Florida’s west coast. In this region, a net hiring plan of 32 percent is scheduled to take place during the first quarter in 2015. This is a substantial gain from 23 percent only a year ago. In other areas of the US, the job market is under 10 percent for new hires. 

Getting a job out of college isn't always easy, but there are some job which are known for being more welcoming and lucrative for college grads, including financial analysts, nurses, and web designers.

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