Despite evidence that shows a high number of college graduates ending up with jobs in their fields of study within six months of graduation, some students still consider a bachelor’s degree in today’s job market insufficient for their eventual careers.
As graduates begin to experience post-graduation anxiety, many said they feel a bachelor’s degree is simply a steppingstone if they intend to work in their chosen field.
Christina Malyan, senior psychology major, said she would try to integrate her new bachelor’s degree into a career in law. Malyan said her degree in psychology would provide her with the requisite knowledge to eventually work in criminal law.
However, Malyan also said many graduates choose not to go directly into their careers after they finish their undergraduate studies. Malyan, for instance, is taking a year off to study for the Law School Admissions Test. She said graduate school is key if she wants to achieve both her career and life goals.
“A bachelor’s degree is just not enough anymore,” Malyan said.
According to the “Employment Profile of 1999-2002 College Graduates and their Employers” study, completed by the Ministry of Education, 91 percent of college students found work within six months of graduation. According to the study, more than two-thirds of that 91 percent were employed in areas directly related to their fields of study.
Additionally, U.S. Labor Secretary Elaine Chao announced May 6 that national job growth figures for the month of April were “the most broadly positive jobs report (the Department of Labor had) seen in some time,” with hourly wages and hours worked both showing positive growth.
Despite these positive signs for upcoming graduates, students are still making plans so they can effectively compete in today’s job market.
Ian Sayer, senior anthropology major, is going to continue his schooling at CSU Los Angeles, where he plans to get his credentials in order to work in school administration as a high school principal.
Sayer said he majored in anthropology in order to gain a solid background in cultural diversity, which he said will help him in any field he decides to go into, especially education.
“You can’t do much with just anthropology,” Sayer said. “But it has taught me the value of individual cultures.”
Sayer said that in this day and age, it is important for a student to get more than just a bachelor’s degree if he or she wants to be well rounded and find a good job.
“(A bachelor’s degree) is just a first step,” Sayer said.
Martha Quevedo, senior child development and psychology major, said she is ready to move on to her master’s degree in school psychology at CSUN.
At the same time, Quevedo will be working in an elementary school to get more real-world experience.
“Ultimately, I want to work in a school setting, (preferably) with students with disabilities,” Quevedo said.
Her double major and further graduate education will likely increase her chances of finding a job in the field of her choice, Quevedo said.
Lilit Bagdzhyan, senior liberal studies major, is also taking a year off to work in a field unrelated to her degree because she wants to eventually pursue a career that often requires post-baccalaureate schooling.
“I want to come back and get my master’s (degree) in linguistics,” Bagdzhyan said. “I want to teach college (English as a Second Language) students.”
She said her bachelor’s degree is essentially for her own good, because it does not have the same meaning it used to. A bachelor’s degree provides zero opportunity for a future career, Bagdzhyan said.
Even graduates from fields not customarily attached to post-baccalaureate work are planning for a future that includes more education.
Angela Mastantuono, senior music major, is taking a year off, and then moving to Chicago for graduate school to pursue musical theatre.
Mastantuono said she hopes to be singing onstage some day, but until then, she must further her education.
“(Grad school) is the thing to do now,” she said.