One-third of Americans admit no life plans after graduating

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One-third of Americans admit no life plans after graduating

These days, going to school doesn’t mean getting a job.

One-third of Americans revealed they had no plan after graduating from school — college or high school, according to a new poll.

The survey, conducted by OnePoll for Colorado State University Global, looked at 2,000 adults and how they felt about entering the responsible life of adulthood.

According to the data, 34% of respondents didn’t have a plan, while 41% didn’t even have a job lined up. Meanwhile, 17% who attended college said they had no plans after senior year.

The same percentage, whether completing high school or college, felt pessimistic about their futures as they transitioned into adulthood.

In honor of National Higher Education Day on June 6, the survey also revealed that 62% of respondents would want to attend college at some point – including the 787 participants who already earned a degree – which would contribute to the ever-growing number of students getting their bachelor’s, South West News Service and Talker News reported.

Students in a line in cap and gowns
One-third of Americans revealed they actually had no life plans following their graduation.
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According to the Pew Research Center, nearly 38% of Americans older than 25 had obtained their bachelor’s degree by 2021, a data point that has increased nearly 8 percentage points since 2011.

In the survey, 62% of respondents who wanted to attend school said they’d be open to receiving a degree right in their living room, opting for virtual learning as opposed to in-person.

“For many busy adults who are also working a full-time job and raising a family, considering alternative education options outside of a traditional brick-and-mortar campus, such as an online program, can help them attain their degree while also balancing life’s responsibilities,” Pamela Toney, the president of Colorado State University Global, told SWNS.

But regardless of how the degree is earned, 71% of the participants agreed that any college has a responsibility to ready students for the real world, including the hardships they might face. In particular, this aid could come in the form of an advisor, which two-thirds of people with a degree said was helpful during their academic careers.

The same respondents (89%), the data shows, were nearly six times more likely to say their college prepared them for the real world than those who didn’t have advisors (15%).

Student in cap and gown in front of laptop
Some respondents even said that if they were to attend college at some point, they’d be open to enrolling virtually.
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For students in the survey, school was about more than hitting the books — nearly half of the respondents said their experience could have been elevated if they had learned daily life skills (47%) or obtained more experience in their fields (44%).

But when attending higher education, students typically expect to find work in their field of study. Yet, a quarter of respondents who are employed post-grad didn’t even work in their degree field, while 68% said their annual college tuition cost more than what they earn yearly.

This may be why 69% of those surveyed want to switch career paths or jobs unrelated to their degrees.

Student in cap and gown biting his nails
Many post-grads said their annual salary is less than what they paid yearly for tuition.
Getty Images/iStockphoto

“For those looking to make a career switch, this is the perfect time to tackle a degree or certification in a new field you are passionate about to improve your chances of finding your dream career path,” said Toney.

But for those who have not yet secured a job post-grad, that break after college before jumping into the deep end might be beneficial.

Of those who took a break between college and a job for an average of four months, 86% of respondents said it was actually helpful. Meanwhile, nearly half of those surveyed who didn’t take a break said that, if they could go back and do it all again, they would.

“Taking a break does not mean that has to be the end of the line for your education,” said Toney. “It’s never too late to go back and get your degree or earn a certificate to hone a new skill in your field. In today’s modern world, going back to school is possible for learners of all ages.”

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