Year after year students graduate unprepared to earn a living.

It’s a typical plan: Go to college, graduate, find a job in your field of study. But that’s not what’s happening for most students.

Only 4 in 10 college students feel well-prepared for their future careers, says a study from McGraw Hill Education. Meanwhile, 60 percent of college graduates think their student loan repayments will cause them to work multiple jobs, according to Discover Financial Services.

“Much more work is required to ensure that students graduate with the confidence, skills, and resources needed to enter the workforce,” says McGraw-Hill Education executive Bill Okun. “To successfully transition from college to employment, students need help applying knowledge in a real-world context and developing the critical thinking and communication skills that they’ll need on the job.”

Who feels most prepared for a career?

With so many students concerned about their career preparedness, less than half are taking advantage of career services at school. And only 51 percent say they want more internships and professional experience.

More men feel prepared for their careers than women. Fifty percent say so compared to 36 percent of female students.

Non-traditional students, those who did not enter college directly from high school are also more prepared. These are workforce skills that they aren’t learning in school…

  • Solving complex problems: 43 percent
  • Resume writing: 37 percent
  • Interviewing for a job: 34 percent
  • Looking for a job: 31 percent

There are 44 million Americans with outstanding student loan debt. Odds are many of these students are going into debt for college and aren’t sure they have the skills to start a career. The unfortunate thing is when they graduate they do need to pay their loans back.

Struggling to pay back the student loan debt

One major problem with student loan borrowers is they don’t understand how their loans work. For instance, only a little more than half understand how to budget their student loan payments along with other expenses like rent, food, or a car. And 59 percent don’t know what their monthly payments will be.

One million borrowers defaulted on their student loans in 2016, according to CNBC. That’s roughly 4.5 percent of student loan borrowers. Unfortunately, only 47 percent of borrowers’ parents feel their child fully understands the impact of defaulting on student loan payments.

Most of these parents (56 percent) worry their child will not be able to make the monthly principal and interest payments. It’s so bad, a third are willing to give up social media forever if it would lessen the impact of student loans on their child.

“It’s never too early for families to start discussing how best to finance a college education,” says Discover Student Loans VP Nicole Straub. “It’s important for both students and parents to be on the same page and start thinking about and budgeting for things like student loan payments early on in the process.”

It’s no surprise, 60 percent of current and recently graduated students say getting a job is most important following graduation. That’s followed by being financially stable and paying back their debt.  Most parents say the same.

“Graduation brings responsibilities such as finding a job and repaying student loans,” Straub says. “As graduates prepare to go out on their own, they should take time to review their personal finances and prepare a monthly budget that will accommodate not only rent, food and having fun but a potential student loan payment.”

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Joe Pye

Joe Pye

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Pye is the associate editor of

College, Credit & Debt, News

employment, student loans

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Article last modified on August 22, 2018 Published by, LLC . Mobile users may also access the AMP Version: Are Colleges Failing to Prepare Their Customers? - AMP.