recent graduates, she said she never once "felt that worry because I knew I
was getting into a field that was quickly growing."
One course: more degrees
Some students have taken another approach to competing with this year's 1.7 million college graduates. They've filled the white space on their resumes with more than a single degree. A concentration, focus, minor or certificates are enhancement to make them more desirable to employers.
Kathleen Lavelle, 22, Avoca, graduated from The University of Scranton with a double major in biochemistry, cell and molecular biology and Hispanic studies with a minor in philosophy.
"I have shadowed physicians and volunteered in a clinical setting all four years of college. I'd attribute my success in my field to these experiences," she said.
Lavelle combined an interest with practicality in choosing her courses.
"I added a second major in Spanish because I love studying the language ... on the logistical side, speaking Spanish will make me a more marketable applicant," she said.
Lavelle has yet to look for a job, but will keep busy for at least the next year building her resume. She was awarded a 2012-13 Fulbright Teaching Assistantship to Spain where she will teach English, natural and social sciences at secondary schools. Afterward, she plans to enroll in medical school like many of her classmates.
Others, she said, found jobs working in research labs, pharmaceutical companies or as secondary school science teachers.
Just any graduate degree may not be as valuable as some students believe, said Christopher Sutzko, director of career planning at King's College.
"I don't think going to grad school to buy more time is the best idea," he said.
Seek employer subsidy
Sutzko advocates students find an employer who will subsidize the graduate work. This way a student will not have to take on the full financial burden.
Sutzko has been working at King's College to help students in job searches since 2007.
"I'll never tell a parent we'll get your child a job, internship or what graduate to school attend. We direct them to choosing that for themselves," Sutzko said. "It's a proactive model of career development."
Despite, or because, of his advice, he has noticed a fluctuation in King's graduates continuing their education. According to Sutzko, in 2012, 31 percent of King's College graduates continued either full time or part time. In 2011, after a six-month survey, 24 percent were enrolled in further education and 26 percent in 2010.
Overall, King's has maintained about a 90 percent placement rate for students that completed the six month survey. Placement includes graduates that continue their education, enlist in the military, find a full-time or part-time position in their field or full-time volunteer work in such organizations as the Peace Corps.
The need to have an undergraduate or graduate degree depends on the career field, but attaining at least one is often the key to employment.
"The reality is having a degree opens doors," said Mary Kuna. "It gets you into fields and involved with organizations you would never be able to be part of without one."
Kuna holds two degrees: a bachelor's in political science with a minor in psychology from The University of Scranton. As of May she holds a master's in urban affairs and public policy focused in urban and regional planning.
But Kuna, a 24-year-old Pittston native, has yet to obtain a position in her field.
"I believe the right job will come along, but there is a sentiment among many young adults that we want to work in what we love," she said.
Jankowsky, the Misericordia graduate, said she chose a career she loves and it worked out for her that it was also one with a demand for jobs.
In order to aid the job hunt, Misericordia began a Guaranteed Placement Program in 1999. It is a free program available to incoming freshman that are interviewed and put through workshops throughout college.
When fully completed, it promises a job in the student's chosen field or acceptance into grad school. If a position is not found within six months Misericordia provides a three-month paid internship.
Two hundred students successfully completed the program without needing the internship.
Dustin Watts graduated from Misericordia last year with a bachelor's degree in business and a focus in marketing.
"I chose my degree strictly because I love advertising," Watts said. He is one of the many success stories the program can take partial credit for. "Why not take a guarantee in this economy?" Watts said.
His career is now at a Target in Stroudsburg as executive team leader for asset protection.
"I am paying my own education and it is extremely important to take a job. Otherwise you are just gaining interest on those loans you have," he said.
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