Unemployment rates have currently remained at 6.7 percent for a few months now according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, which is a very worrisome statistic for graduates just leaving college hoping to find jobs, especially in their fields of study. However, now it may be that unemployment isn’t the biggest concern, but underemployment. With graduates looking for work and scared to go broke, it’s difficult to say ‘no’ to a job that offers you a stable and consistent paycheck. It happens all too often though that college graduates and older adults are accepting jobs below their degree level and are being underused based on the education they’ve received. It begins to beg the question if a degree is even worth it if you are heading for a job that you can get with just a high school diploma.
It is true that this is a concerning notion, but with a majority of jobs looking only for college graduates, everyone now feels the need to get a degree, which unfortunately brings about people who only go to college for the degree and not for the education. Students who try the bare minimum and barely make it by, or worse, students who cheat their way through classes until they reach the point where they finally realize that it was only hurting themselves. All of our staff has encountered those types of students. The kinds who don’t show up for group projects and still get credit because of those of us who actually did the work. The types that aim for high paying jobs like lawyers or doctors but cheat on their exams not realizing that graduate schools will not be as kind to them.
A college degree used to be something that set those apart from others whether it is based on intellect, skill level, dedication, whatever. Now, with everyone needing one to get even a semblance of a good job, it can be hard to decipher who actually deserves the positions and who skirted responsibility and may potentially do the same in that occupation. So the question we should be asking isn’t if the degree is worth it, but what is the degree actually worth? If the people who slaved their way through college, working two jobs with an internship to pay for school themselves, are getting the same degree as those who barely tried, maybe the job market isn’t the only concern.