Things you didn’t know about college graduates

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It may have been some time since you donned your black robes and graduated, and things are pretty different now in the world of college graduates. In fact, here are a few things that you might not know about today’s college graduates.

Just 56% of students earn their degrees within six years

Completing a degree isn’t easy, and we all know that some people never actually finish and graduate, but you may be surprised by just how many! The completion rate seems to be highest for students who started at private, nonprofit, four-year schools (72.9%) and the least likely to graduate are those who start at two-year institutions (39.9%).

The most common major

Since 1980, the most common college major has been business. Business bachelor’s degrees account for around a fifth of all degrees, perhaps because it is such a transferable qualification. Anyone now has the opportunity to set up their own business or start up, and a bachelor’s degree will help develop these skills and give you the edge in a very saturated market. Of course, it does also mean that there are more qualified candidates for jobs in businesses, so competition is even higher! Interestingly, prior to 1980, the most popular major was education; however, that seems to have fallen by the wayside.

Graduate jobs are scarcer than ever

It is getting harder to find a graduate job and in fact, in 2012 research showed that around 44% of college graduates were employed in positions that did not require a college degree. A difficulty in graduate employment is the need to have experience in your field, which you are not able to get without prior experience and so it can be frustrating to break into. The unemployment rate among recent graduates is still significantly higher than it was before the Great Recession.

It still pays to be a graduate

Although it is difficult to find a graduate-level job, and student loans are a huge source of stress, grads still earn more than those who do not have degrees. For example, the median annual salary for someone with a bachelor’s degree is around $45,500 whereas those with some college education are looking at around $30,000 and just a high school diploma will get you approximately $28,000.

It was worth it

Across the three largest current US generations (Baby Boomers, Gen-Xers, and Millennials), the majority agree that their college education has already paid off or they expect it to pay off based on the investment that they and/or their families put into it.

Pranks, parties and all-night study sessions for finals; some things never change when it comes to college. However, this shows that it is an interesting time for graduates. It’s harder than ever to get a graduate-level job, and a large percentage of students never finish or graduate at all. Those that do, however, do have the potential to earn significantly more than their peers and overall, it seems to be worth it. Let’s hope the job market takes an uphill direction for the next few years of college grads!

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