FIRST PERSON | As a ninth grade AVID teacher in Davis, California, a huge part of my job is preparing freshmen for admission to the college of their choice. I help them plan their high school schedules to make sure they have their admission requirements satisfied. They register for and complete the PSAT, set up College Board accounts, research and tour all types of colleges, and create a final project highlighting the school of their choice. I teach them the value of a college education, and how much more money college graduates make than mere high school graduates.
However, according to Investors.com recent article, "New Normal: Majority of Unemployed Attended College", I may have to change my message. For the first time in history, today's college grads are now facing unprecedented levels of unemployment. About 8 percent of adults with "some college" are unemployed. More than ever before, Americans are attending college, and many are dropping out or graduating with huge levels of student debt and little ability to meet expected levels of employment.
While these numbers are frightening, they only speak for part of the college experience. For me, college wasn't about preparing for a career; I had no idea I'd end up as a teacher. Instead, college prepared me for life by providing me with the ability to think, wonder, and imagine. I learned about life and myself, and realized I could do anything I set my mind to. College grads may not find jobs right away, but they will find the knowledge they gained of greater worth. And when you know what you can do, you open yourself up to so many more possibilities. Education, unlike a job, can never be taken away from you.
I think I'll keep telling my students to work for their dream school. It's worth it.
Jennifer Wolfe is a mom to a tween and a teen. She has degrees in elementary and secondary education and has taught for 21 years.
- College Board