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Essay on Education: Overeducated and Underemployed Graduates

Education is essential for succeeding in a highly competitive labor market. The growing popularity of college education clearly demonstrates the improved understanding of this axiom by the citizens. At the same time, giving preference to mental labor over physical labor and choosing popular majors, students often ignore their personal talents. Careful testing of personal skills and interests and an in-depth analysis of the labor market sector demands is necessary for making the right choice of a college and major.

Though college education is important, a diploma is not a golden ticket to a bright future. The Census Bureau reports that 8.5% of recent graduates are unemployed, and 16.8% of recent graduates are underemployed (working part-time or as interns). At the same time, more than a half of those who are employed have jobs which do not require diplomas. Therefore, the statistic reports reveal that modern graduates are underemployed and overeducated. The college debt remains a burden on graduates’ budget for years or even decades, but the jobs landed by the graduates are not always worth their diplomas. A diploma is not enough even for entry levels jobs requiring qualification. Some graduates have to take internships and work for free. For this reason, graduates often consider retraining or choosing another profession.

‘Forget everything you learnt in college’, recent graduates often hear these words at their first work place. Paradoxically, positions requiring college degrees do not require all the theoretical knowledge received at the educational institution. The practical skills, quick learning and the ability to apply the received knowledge in practice are more important than the ability to remember and repeat some information. The pace of the progress does not allow modern curricula to cover all the information graduates will need in their professional environment. Whereas the format of college courses gives only limited opportunities for developing the necessary professional skills in students, the main task of modern education is to teach students the basics of self education. The research skills and the ability to process and analyze the information, evaluating its quality and potential for practical use are the most important qualities in the entry level specialists. Whereas formal education, diplomas and degrees are necessary for getting a job, self education and ability to learn are important for fulfilling the job responsibilities.

Along with a chance for getting a good job, college education opens up opportunities for personal development. The research skills and analytical thinking learnt in college often change the life views and behavior of graduates. College courses in Psychology and Philosophy which are a part of many programs can influence the life priorities and even way of thinking. College professors and supervisors can become role models, transforming the personalities of their students on different levels. College friends and acquaintances can become important business contacts who will motivate and support graduates on their career paths. Furthermore, many successful startups were launched by college students from their dorm rooms (Face book, Fedex to name only a few of them). Thus, the decision to go to college and receive a degree is a life changing experience opening up many opportunities for not only professional but also personal growth.

Even though a college degree does not guarantee successful employment and a good job immediately after graduation, education is worth time and effort. Opening up many opportunities, influencing the ways of thinking and lifestyles, college diplomas can contribute to brighter futures if a student pays proper attention to self education and the skills of critical thinking – the most important things which can be learnt in college.