College more important than ever, study says

A recent study by Georgetown University shows the number of jobs requiring a bachelor’s degree has increased by 2.2 million, while jobs requiring only a high school diploma have decreased by 200,000.

“The high school diploma by itself is rapidly becoming a credential that gives you little entrance into the job world,” said Thomas Calhoun, UNA vice president of academic affairs. “It is increasingly important that some post-secondary work be pursued and achieved.”

Students recognize the importance of college when it comes to getting jobs.

“I think having a degree will show that you can stick with something for so many years and it gives you experience with people, more knowledge of the field you are working toward, shows initiative and usually increases pay,“ said Katelyn Johnson, a UNA junior.

Job competition creates a need for applicants to stand out to employers, and degrees alone don’t always translate into jobs, Calhoun said.

He said students shouldn’t adhere only to their majors in the job search.

“My first job with a college degree was in a saw shop, building prefabricated houses and cutting sheetrock for $1.80 an hour,” Calhoun said. “That’s not what I went to college for.”

Vagn Hansen, dean of the UNA College of Arts and Sciences, said he encourages students not to be picky.

“I think it’s sad when people don’t seek out jobs they think are beneath them,” he said.

Calhoun said he suggests using time in a guaranteed job to find areas where  college-acquired skills are useful.

Samantha Fotovich, a junior elementary education major, said it is more imprtant to gain skills than knowledge.

“We are not just sitting in a lecture hall taking notes all day,” she said. “We are required to spend over 200 hours in the elementary school classroom—both observing and teaching—prior to graduation.”

Hansen said college students should look ahead and become aware of opening job markets.

“I think it’s very wise for students to work with Career Planning and Development to understand what occupational fields will be expanding,” Hansen said.

Hansen said a creative approach is the best solution for job seekers.

“Very often you need to try to get noticed in some positive ways,” Hansen said. “Creative people find ways to get themselves positively noticed.”