Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Students vow to chase the American Dream despite new reality

Students are chasing their own version of the American Dream, said Tim Chambless, professor of Political Science at the University of Utah. And the economic realities of 2013 are making the journey more difficult than before.

Chambless warns that the problems graduates face are real. “I have a fear, however, that if we don’t make some major adjustments in the structure of our economy, that this new generation will be the first generation that will have to learn to live with less rather than more.”

The challenges are sobering:
  • A Wall Street Journal analysis revealed that among households headed by people with student debt who attended graduate school and are under 35, the average student loan debt climbed to $81,758 in 2010, up from $55,594 in 2007.
  • Median wages for those with bachelor's degrees are down from 2000, and half of 2012 college graduates were either jobless or underemployed.
  • The Wall Street Journal reported that the U.S. awarded 126,214 MBAs in the 2010-2011 school year, 74 percent more than in 2000. Some educators and employers are now saying that the growth of MBA programs and the number of graduates is threatening to lessen the value of the degree.
There is demand for engineers and those in the sciences. But those in liberal arts, humanities and other degrees that push on to business school or law school are facing a new economic reality: Education is not just about pursuing a paycheck, but can I really afford to pursue the American Dream the way my parents did?

Diane Ward, program manager and career counselor at the University of Utah, says she encourages students to follow their dreams, despite the risk of significant debt.

She listed five things she advises all students to do if they are serious about getting into graduate school or getting their dream job: Find internships, put in the time for work experience, network, create a great resume, and be educated about what schools and employers are looking for. Deseret News

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