Many college graduates find transition difficult

Many college graduates find transition difficult

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SALT LAKE CITY -- As thousands of students prepare for graduation from Utah's colleges and universities, many of them are finding it harder to move on to the real world than they had hoped.

Students across the state will be getting their diplomas in the coming weeks. BYU and Weber State's commencement ceremonies are set for Friday. But with the current high unemployment rate, many of those soon-to-be graduates will skip the 9-to-5 job and go back to school or back to mom and dad instead.

"College debt is here now. It's time to start looking at that," says Westminster College senior Brody Leven.

University of Utah senior Kaeleigh Forsyth shares those same concerns.

"I want to go somewhere exciting of course," says Forsyth about her life after graduation. "Then we'll see once I look at my $100 budget. We'll see where I can get a job. It's the limiting factor obviously."

With no job lined up, some students are moving back in with mom and dad. Others like Forsyth are moving on to graduate school

Brody Leven
Brody Leven

"It's so hard anymore because an undergrad is having a high school degree anymore so you have to go to grad school," she says.

But the director of Career Services at the University of Utah, Stan Inman, says that's not necessarily true, especially for engineering, accounting, finance and technical degrees.

"Prospects are pretty positive right now for graduates," says Inman.

Inman says his national professional organization puts out a job outlook every spring, and for a while, it was flat. But this year it's up 5.3 percent.

The University of Utah also did more than 1,500 interviews on campus this past year with potential employers. Their job search database shows about 350 jobs available from a variety of employers.

But Inman says students should have started looking long before the cap and gown, explaining that new grads have a window of opportunity of about six months to find a professional position.

"We had interviews and campus activities all year beginning in the fall, where many recruiters come in October and make offers to spring graduates," Inman says.

But the Career Services office will offer workshops soon about interviewing, resumes and job searching skills.

"A whole series of them are scheduled, ironically, after commencement because there are many students who say ‘I need to get serious,'" says Inman.

Leven says it was hard for him to get serious about a job while he was at Westminster College because he wanted to focus on his time at school.

"I've been treating college like an end in itself, not a means to an end. I've been focused on having fun while I'm here, not really what's next. As the end in itself has now come, I have to start thinking now," he says.

So do thousands of other students.


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