A Narrow Focus in College Could Backfire

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Peter Cappelli of The Wall Street Journal investigates how the job market has changed over time for college graduates. While the end goal for students and their parents has always been securing a job, Capelli argues that the path to this goal is ever-changing. Capelli asserts that many students are pressured to choose a career path prematurely due to the high costs of college and setbacks that come from changing majors. As in the tech bust of the early 2000’s, many students who believe that they are in a “hot” degree program may actually struggle to secure a job if the market shifts. Cappelli stresses the importance of evaluating the entire package of college in order to make decisions that most benefit the student and simultaneously generate the most aptitude to finding a job. For instance, not everyone may be cut out for a specialized degree, and despite the negative stimulus associated with liberal arts degrees, a practical degree which involves education in multiple areas may actually give the student the most options out of college. This is especially important since the job market is unpredictable. Further, most employers will value previous work experience over pure academic involvement. Thus, general aptitude may be more important than specialization.

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