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

“I eat [Pizza Hut] least two times per month; it's one of my favorite places to go to eat pizza.”—Male, 35, VA

More Millennials are asking for cash wedding registries, and it’s bad news for stores like Bed Bath & Beyond and Williams Sonoma. Increasingly, young couples are asking guests to contribute towards their nest egg, travel, or anything they feel like buying themselves. Companies like Zola and Honeypot have boomed in popularity, offering a personalized platform for their cash registries. However, their success with wedding registries is taking “a key customer acquisition tool” away from home décor stores. (Insider)

The beauty industry is catering to Customization Nation, as more companies crop up to blend unique beauty products for each customer. But can the trend scale? Truly personalized products, like the ones offered by hair care start-up Function of Beauty and makeup company Bite Beauty, take time and resources. But companies that offer base products with just a personalized element or two could be the future of the industry. And big-name brands are getting their feet wet too: Lancôme and CoverGirl have both offered custom-made foundations. (Glossy)

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Hollister is teaming up with AwesomenessTV to reach Gen Z with a YouTube series. “The Carpe Life” will be a part of a broader campaign, which includes influencer marketingand appeals to young consumers’ love for active, adventurous lifestyles. "The Carpe Life" follows Hollister's first YouTube series, “This is Summer” which “boosted key brand metrics by double digits,” adding on to their overall positive impact on Abercrombie & Fitch’s rising bottom line. (Marketing Dive)

Netflix is switching its strategy, putting less money into “prestige films” for the Post-TV Gen. Instead, they’re churning out more direct-to-video releases. Last year, they bought ten titles at Sundance while this year they had none. While they continue to create original content like the recent The Cloverfield Paradox, they’re betting on less-than-award-worthy films to maintain their hold on Millennial viewers. (The Atlantic)

“Basically if I found out any brand was supporting causes I do not support and actively oppose, I will avoid buying their products.”—Female, 27, CA

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