YAB Members Report: Is College Still Worth It?

As debt runs deep in students’ pockets, the decision to continue education past high school is no longer a given. In 2012, undergraduate and graduate enrollment decreased for the first time in six years, dropping by half a million. The value that Millennials gain from a college degree is being questioned, and when weighed against impending student loans and a shaky job market, the odds don’t seem to be in their favor. How prepared do Millennials feel to tackle life out of high school and college? What is it like to be in college knowing that the degree you are earning might not be worth what you need it to be when you graduate? We spoke to Millennials from our Youth Advisory Board to hear what they had to say about their high school and college careers, and what the landscape of education looks like for them.
 
The Recession Put Education Into Perspective.
Millennials were no doubt hit hard by the recession, and for many students, it dictated their path going forward. YAB member Maddie, 19, has always kept college in her trajectory, but feels that it became even more important during this time, causing her to “begin to consider graduate school so I can be even more specialized and unique to future employers.” Camilla, 23, took that path as well, “taking the time for grad school, and making sure I had full funding (i.e. a salary and research funds) for my PhD.” Both rely on external funding through scholarships and grants, and help from parents in order to get by. But for some, parental support is not an option. For YAB member Skyanne, 18, “the recession made it clear that regardless of what society says, sometimes college just isn’t an option.” Boxed out of financial aid and without a co-signer for loans, paying out of pocket is the final option and is near impossible for a high…

 
 

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The Newsfeed

Quote of the Day: “When I go out, I just go where my friends are going.”
—Female, 22, DC

Influencer marketing is on track to grow next year, despite “significant questions about its effectiveness.” According to analysis by Chute, 66% of marketers surveyed have an influencer marketing strategy in place, but the majority aren’t calculating its success by direct sales. Over eight in ten say their top goal with influencers is to reach a new audience, and to measure effectiveness more than 70% look at engagement—either through likes or comments on Instagram, sceenshots on Snapchat, etc.—followed by reach or views, and then referral link click-throughs. (Digiday)

Higher education needs to prepare itself for a new target market. A steep drop in births during the Great Recession is expected to lead to a decrease in the number of U.S. high school graduates, especially among Caucasians: according to a Georgetown Center report, in 2030 white students will account for less than half of high school graduates. Growth within the Hispanic community can offset the decline, signifying that “schools will need to re-orient themselves toward a Hispanic, first-generation population to stay competitive.” (The Wall Street Journal

Health-conscious Millennials have some misconceptions when it comes to GMOs. New Pew Research shows that 21% of 18-29-year-olds believe genetically modified foods are “very likely” to lead to health issues, and 25% believe they create problems for the environment. But in actuality, scientific research says that GM foods are safe to eat, and as long as they’re developed properly “don’t pose any unique, undue threat to the environment.” The study also found that 12% follow vegetarian or vegan diets, which according to scientific research is a healthy habit to take on. (NYMAG

All tech toys are not created equal—according to the Institution for Engineering and Technology. Created with the “mission to encourage more girls to pursue careers in engineering, science and technology,” the Institution recently found that stem toys are three times more likely to target boys over girls, and nine out of ten “girls’ toys” are pink. The Institution reports the stereotypically gendered toys could actually deter young girls interested in engineering. (The Guardian)

Live video is increasingly becoming the space to watch for audience engagement. According to MarketsandMarkets, live video will be a $70 billion industry by 2021, and on Facebook, live content is generating 10x the amount of comments than typical videos. The holidays have proven to be an ideal opportunity for brands looking to dive in on the trend: Lowe’s Black Friday deals unveiling on Facebook Live reached an audience of 32,000 during broadcast, while Taco Bell’s livestream of their annual Friendsgiving dinner generated as many as 150,000 viewers. (Adweek)

Quote of the Day: “When I go out I look for pool tables…or something to do other than drink.”

—Female, 23, CA

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