I’m not excited for graduation, there I said it. In fact, I’m terrified to meet the harsh reality that awaits me after I finally depart from the safety of being a student. For many students, this will be happening sooner rather than later.
Long Beach State Provost Brian Jersky recently announced that the school’s High Valued Degree Initiative of 2025 produced successful results since 2015. According to Jersky, “Academic Affairs has been focusing on increasing the number of advisors so students have more resources for academic planning. In addition to technological support, the campus has also increased the amount of tutors on campus.”
While this news is exciting for many, I am left wondering what happens after graduation now that students are exiting school at a faster pace. Much of the time students spend in school, whether it be four years or eight, gives them convenient access to valuable on-campus resources.
This means that taking longer than four years to complete university may also assist graduated students in battling underemployment rates by allowing them extended access to resources that are essential for landing a career.
Underemployment is a term used to describe the situations of nearly half of college undergraduates who immediately enter a job that does not require the degree they attained. While it may seem tempting to the fresh new “adults” of the world, there have been studies, including the one above, citing long term consequences of rushing to finish in four years.
According to a report made by Burning Glass Technologies in collaboration with the Strada Institute for the Future of Work, 43 percent of students who graduate college are underemployed immediately following graduation.
The same study found that on average a former student with a bachelor’s degree who is underemployed earns $10,000 less than a graduate employed in a field requiring their degree.
The Graduation Initiative 2025 states on its website that it takes responsibility for “implement[ing] strategies to track progress to ensure all targeted students are actively engaged in the process and prepared to apply for internships, employment, graduate school, or other post-graduate opportunities.”
LBSU has addressed concerns about finding careers after college with additions such as the Career Development Center located on campus, which is geared toward helping students by offering workshops and promoting job fairs on campus.
According to the CCD’s website, 53.8 percent of students who applied for full-time careers received no offers; only 32.5 percent received one offer and 6.3 percent received two.
While I don’t mean to take away from the accomplishments of our university when it comes to increasing four-year graduation percentages, I am concerned with the quality of education and what measures LBSU is taking to assist students after graduation.
LBSU should do more to publicize apprenticeships and internships as well as continue to help students search for these things in the post-graduation phase. For some of us, four years just isn’t enough time to prepare for a career, and attending a job fair or workshop doesn’t provide all of the answers.
As someone who is currently completing an extra semester, I wish I had another year in college to ensure that I have a firm grasp of the concepts I was supposed to be learning in my four years here, which have been jam packed with work and units.
If LBSU plans to continue pushing students through in four years, they should take into consideration what it means for students like myself as well as show it has a positive effect on the amount of former students entering careers.