Created on Tuesday, 01 May 2012 01:03
Appalachian State University will grant 2,550 undergraduate degrees May 12 and 13, but many of those new graduates will face a tough job market and an uncertain future.
Approximately one in two recent graduates are jobless or underemployed, according to an Associated Press article published on npr.com last week.
Chancellor Kenneth Peacock said financial concerns have affected this graduating class as well.
"They have survived some tough budget cuts, more so than any other," Peacock said. "But they have seen Appalachian's commitment and faculty's commitment to provide them with a quality education."
Employees at Appalachian's Career Development Center are seeing the effects of those issues in students who visit.
"I think what we see now, more than ever, is that sense of hopelessness," Associate Director Sharon Jensen said.
Some students have also internalized a more negative view of their job prospects, Jensen said.
"This is a recession, so clearly the media isn't talking favorably about the job search process or job opportunities," Jensen said. "I think students can't help but internalize that and we've really battled that these past several years."
One graduating senior, public relations major Emily Helm, has been searching for a job since January and hasn't yet found employment.
"Finding a job has been a full-time job and, honestly, a little overwhelming," Helm said. "Between schoolwork, extracurricular activities and everything in between, it is hard to find the extra time to write cover letters and search."
Helm said she was affected by budget reductions as class availability dwindled.
"I was always stressed leading up to registering, but these past few times, I was overly stressed...I knew if I didn't get these classes, then I wouldn't graduate on time," she said.
Another soon-to-be graduate, senior chemistry major Taylor Sears, isn't searching for a job because he plans to attend medical school. But Sears said he has seen the effects of budget reductions as well, from tuition increases to the amount of classes offered.
"Since I am in the honors college, I don't think the cuts have impacted me as much, since I get early registration, which allows me to usually get the classes that I need," Sears said. "But the available class times have still decreased."
Number of graduates from each college in May 2012
College of Arts and Sciences: 932
Walker College of Business: 394
Reich College of Education: 275
College of Fine Applied Arts: 460
College of Health and Sciences: 344
Hayes School of Music: 73
University College: 72
Source: Office of the Registrar
Story: KELLI STRAKA, Senior News Reporter