College Student Expectations and Realities

Congratulations to all of the 2014 high school and college graduates!   The reality for college student expectations and results can be very different.   A recent survey by Accenture shows how different the real world can be, even with a college degree.  It is a good time for all recent graduates to reflect on their past, learn from it and envision the future.  It is also a time for parents to realize how times have changed and what our children are facing as they move to being an adult.

The Accenture survey discusses the categories of readiness for the real world, financial expectations and independence of the recent graduate.  The survey concludes that recent college graduates are reporting that they are underemployed and working in jobs that do not require their college degree.

At College Affordability, we try to get our clients to focus on the outcome of the education on both a financial and career basis.   Due to increase college cost and  high student debt at graduation, the consequence of not having a planned outcome can be costly.  It is my opinion an area of study needs to be defined by the end of freshman year.  Further refinement is needed as you progress through your college experience.

In the survey titled “What Awaits 2014 Grads in the Working World”. A picture of the real world is described.   Accenture conducted a U.S. survey of students to examine graduate expectations and the realty of the working world.  Accenture surveyed 1010 students that will graduate in 2014 and 1,005 participants who graduated from college in 2012 and 2013.  Please visit to read the full report.

The chart is as follows:

Accenture 1405


Source: Accenture

The above chart portrays the difference between the expectations and the realities of the working world for the class of 2014.   Although the number of people surveyed was not large, it should make current college students and college bound students reflect on their future.

For the high school graduate, you have accomplished your first hurdle by getting into the college of your preferred choice.  Now the real work begins and you need to learn from the information listed above.   During the first month of college visit the college career center and see the resources that are available there.  While at the career center, you should gather information on selected majors, various job requirements and the future job potential.  The career center is a resource for interships and summer jobs which are becoming more important in job placement after college.  Your college experience begins to create the blueprint for your future.   Between the career center and your academic advisor, you need to update this plan at least once a semester if not more often.

As the chart above shows, college student expectations can vary greatly.  Realizing a college degree is an investment in yourself and focusing on the outcome can provide a positive start to your future.


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