The light at the end of the tunnel seems pretty dim for upcoming college graduates, according to a report from the Associated Press that found half of students graduating from college are either unable to find a job or take a job that is not in their field.
The economic downtown our country is experiencing has left most of these bright-eyed graduates with little besides underemployment and debt.
"Young adults with bachelor's degrees are increasingly scraping by in lower-wage jobs - waiter or waitress, bartender, retail clerk or receptionist, for example - and that's confounding their hopes a degree would pay off despite higher tuition and mounting student loans," the report stated.
So, is college worth the expense? Well, our hands are tied on this one.
On one hand, college is more than a sheet of paper that declares you know something; it's an experience. It's an opportunity for young adults to get cultured, mature and gain expertise in a field they are passionate about.
The job market won't be like this forever, and those with college degrees are likely to be paid more than those without.
On the other hand, reality sets in with payments looming upon graduating and student loan debt rising which has reached $1 trillion, with graduates averaging $100,000 in loan debt, according to AP.
"You can make more money on average if you go to college, but it's not true for everybody," Harvard economist Richard Freeman told AP, noting the growing risk of a debt bubble with total U.S. student loan debt surpassing $1 trillion. "If you're not sure what you're going to be doing, it probably bodes well to take some job, if you can get one, and get a sense first of what you want from college."
Our advice to students: be mindful. Although receiving a student loan is as easy as clicking a button, a part-time job or becoming a part-time student may be better options. If better employment is what you are looking for after college, then evaluate the job market for positions with the largest projected number of job openings.
According to government projections reported by AP, in 2020, teachers, college professors and accountants are jobs that will be have the largest number of openings that require a degree.
"Most job openings are in professions such as retail sales, fast food and truck driving, jobs which aren't easily replaced by computers," the report stated.
Also, if you're not sure what career field is right for you; college can wait. Spend some time out in the field and find what's right for you first.