College Guide


January 28, 2013 11:00 AM College Freshman Increasingly Delusional

By Daniel Luzer

More freshman than ever are saying their reason to go to college is to get a good job and make a lot of money, according to the CIRP Freshman Survey, the University of California, Los Angeles’s annual survey of college freshmen.

As put it:

The portion of incoming freshmen that cited “to be able to get a better job” as a very important reason for attending college reached an all-time high of 87.9 percent in 2012, an increase from 85.9 percent in 2011 and considerably higher than the low of 67.8 percent in 1976. Many incoming students also said the ability “to make more money” was a very important reason to attend college; this percentage rose from 71.7 in 2011 to 74.6 in 2012, another all-time high.

Sadly, however, going to college is not likely to actually ensure financial success, at least not immediately. Thanks to increasing student loan debt and a stagnant economy, the economic reality of the today’s college graduate is pretty grim.

The average college graduate is now $27,000 in debt. In addition, more than half of recent college graduates are now either unemployed or working in jobs for which they didn’t need college degrees.

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer


  • Sgt. Gym Bunny on January 29, 2013 11:27 AM:

    Well, I wouldn't say that freshman are "delusional", per se. It's more of a matter of who is giving them advice on their life choices: their parents and school guidance counselors and other academic administrators.

    But the thing about these folks is this: When they went to college, a college degree was a surefire way to get a leg up on a high-paying career. These folks went to college in a time when student loans were more akin to buying a used 10-yr old Toyota rather than buying a brand-spanking new C-Class Mercedes. And when the economy was booming with jobs-a-plenty they could pay down those couple of thousand dollars worth of student loans within a few years. Unlike recent graduates now, they are not suffering under the crush of today's sucky economy--they've already got their degree and paid for it--so this is an entirely new experience that they know nothing about.

    And until financial aid/admissions counselors and parents and high school counselors start to acknowledge this change and the economic realities of owning $27,000 worth before an actual job offer comes in, more college freshman are going to sign their life into uber-educated peonage for essentially a thick piece of paper with pretty writing on it.