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From the desk of Dr. Charles Murphy: October 25, 2012

Recently, information released by Northeastern University reports that 51 percent  of college graduates from 2011 are either “un” or “under” employed. Just imagine spending four years working toward the ultimate goal of entering the nation’s workforce to discover there are few opportunities in your field. Clearly, the Great Recession has impacted our best and brightest students.   

With the cost of college at a record high, many people are asking if higher education is worth the cost. After all, the pursuit of a college diploma has left many students with mortgage-like debt. 

The United States Census Bureau reports that the lifetime earnings between a high school graduate and a college graduate averages almost $1.3 million in favor of the college graduate. Seemingly, education is a sound investment for your children.  

However, at this time, not all college degrees have the same value in this economic market. Parents and their children truly need to discuss not only their child’s dreams, but the economic reality of their dreams. This brings me back to a political cartoon satirizing the job market of the late 70s. Basically it read…you’re a “genius” if you are able to complete a five-year study in ancient Babylonian astronomy in two years, however, you’re “not too bright” if you think you can get a job with this major. Indeed, some majors are just not marketable no matter how challenging the course work. In fact, these college grads are having difficulty finding any employment. While others, accounting, computer science and nursing majors have more opportunities for the future.  

Naturally, as parents we all want our children to follow their dreams, however, we would like them to be successful independent adults. As your children begin making their way through the high school, parents need to have these very important conversations with their children - balancing dreams as well as the financial hardships of life.