Advice for New Graduates

Graduation ceremonies are taking place all over the country. For high school and college graduates, it is both exciting and nerve-wracking as they look toward uncertain futures. Should they go to college? Is their degree in demand? What college degrees are in demand? And, should they get that graduate degree? While there are no hard fast answers to the above, there are some suggestions that we can offer. So what’s the best advice for new graduates?

Should You Go to College?

If you believe the numbers coming from the Labor Department as well as a recent Associated Press-Viacom poll, then the answer should be a resounding yes. According to the Labor Department’s recent figure, it has become much harder for adults to find a job since the 2007 recession. The unemployment rate is over 20 percent for the past three years for high school graduates age 16-24 who have no college education. For their college grad counterparts within the same age range, their unemployment topped off at 8.5 percent this year.

There are many reasons cited for not going to college. Costs seem to be the driving reason why many bypassed college. And while many do plan on returning at some point, no timetable is given. College is and continues to be a very costly endeavor. So what can you do to make certain you secure that college degree?

Start at a local college thereby saving money on room and board and other associated expenses. You may also look at an online school that fits within your needs. This frees up some time for you to try to find a job that at least helps to offset some of the costs. Do not overlook scholarships. Look through some of the larger scholarship sites to see what type of scholarships you may qualify for… this is not a one time procedure. Many organizations and foundations offer annual scholarships which means you have to reapply.

Never over look filling out the FAFSA form (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). The deadline has passed for this year but without filing, you severely limit access to grants offered to college students.

Don’t necessarily rule out student loans. While you certainly do not want to take on more debt than you can ever possibly pay off on your entry level salary, there are some student loan forgiveness programs and low interest student loans that can fill in the gap between the funds you have available to pay for college.