Education creep spells doom for undergraduates

We have heard numerous statistics that allegedly show that a lack of vocational and thus monetary success for those who possess only a high school diploma. We have heard the numerous statistics that give evidence that a higher income for those with an undergraduate degree. But to what extent is this still the case?

With the job market on the perpetual decline and the economy weak and unstable, job opportunities for people with undergraduate degrees are far from abundant. As a result, more people are attending graduate school to ensure themselves a career at graduation.

Graduate schools across the nation are reporting increases in applications. According to "The Daily Texan," the University of Texas experienced a 24 percent increase in applications for the spring 2009 semester. The U.S. News and World Report announced that MIT, Duke, and Dartmouth graduate schools have experienced increases in applications of at least 15 percent each; Duke’s graduate school leads the bunch with a 33 percent increase.

With more people seeking graduate degrees, the competition for lucrative jobs increases and who is disadvantaged? The people with meager undergraduate degrees. The people with high school diplomas might as well not even try.

The unfortunate reality of this is that while the economy has tanked, undergraduate and graduate school tuitions have continued to rise. Tuition for reputable Central N.Y. graduate schools such as Syracuse and Cornell is between $20,000 and $30,000 depending on the program of interest, excluding living expenses. Law and medical school tuition for these schools is almost double that amount. The tradeoff for the top jobs for those with graduate degrees is a daunting debt that even their lucrative careers will have difficulty paying off in a reasonable amount of time.

So what should we do? If we cease our educational endeavors after undergraduate school, we will be left competing with people who have more education and will face an uphill battle. If we go to graduate school, we might get the career we want, but at a lofty price.

There is one thing we can do: make the most out of whatever education we strive for. That means, earning the highest GPA possible to have an advantage over others with an equivalent amount of education. Also, we must be involved on campus and off campus to network and build a respectable resume.

In a tight job market, the importance of developing relationships with employers is invaluable. Before dishing out the money on a new hire, employees are doing whatever possible to make sure a candidate is a safe pick. For this reason, a new study found that 45 percent of employers are using social networking sites to screen job candidates, reports Jenna Wortham of the New York Times.

I urge you to make the most of any education you receive so that you can not only give yourself somewhat of an advantage over others with a comparable degree of education but to also represent Oswego State positively. By improving the school’s reputation, employers will have a greater respect for graduates from our school and consequently, more jobs will be made available to us.

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