In the Real World

By: Justin Ware
By: Justin Ware

After growing up in Plover and graduating from UWSP, Joshua Garbe was happy to find a job with Stevens Point's Sentry Insurance.

"It wasn't that hard for me mostly because I had an internship at Sentry Insurance before I get a job," said Garbe.

But staying local isn't a luxury that all students who graduate with four-year degrees are afforded. Campus officials say the majority of their grads do stay in Wisconsin, but 20 percent end up leaving the state to find a job.

Erin Ernst will be putting her forestry degree to work in the Sierra Mountains on the western edge of California.

"Be open to where you want to live. If you're gonna look in such a narrow place you're gonna have a hard time finding a job," said Ernst.

Career services director Mary Mosier says one of the advantages to having a four- year degree available to graduates.

But like Ernst, you may have to be willing to relocate.

"We always tell students the more geographically mobile you are, obviously the better your chances," said Mary Mosier, UWSP Career Services.

Mosier says the likelihood of finding a job in some part of the country is good, but it's not a guarantee. There are those who are struggling, even with their diplomas.

"I'm looking basically from the East Coast to the west coast, but it's hard to get a job as a high school teacher," said Peter Kruger, UWSP English Major.

And there are other obstacles that make four-year degrees less attractive than other options such as the two-year degrees available at technical schools.

The cost of attending a four-year university is high and getting higher, which means a student's debt load after graduating is doing the same.

Financial advisers say the average college student graduates with $16,000 of debt, a sound investment if it pays off in a lucrative career.