We all love free even when we are unknowingly giving up something in exchange. Are you reading the fine prints? The free college tuition in New York State starting this fall, also referred to as Excelsior Scholarship, will (1) require you to take not less than 30 credits per year, (2) force you to attend only public colleges, and (3) which has much greater consequence: force you to remain in NYS for 4 years after graduation or else you be owing the scholarship back as student loan (see link: https://www.ny.gov/sites/ny.gov/files/atoms/files/ExcelsiorScholarship_Toolkit.pdf ). In the framework of losing a dollar to gain a dime, poor and minority students may have lost Pell grant which is also a free money, but without any of the constraints mentioned above.
Think for a second, what if you can’t find a job right away in NYS after graduation? Take 2 minutes to guess how many job applicants you’ll be competing with now that the college is free. Everyone loves free, remember? Here is what your quick mental calculation must equals to: an unbelievably higher number of your graduating class will flood the NYS job market looking for the same job you are hunting. And since you all are stuck, competition will be fierce. There will be salt rubbing on the wound as you might find yourselves competing with candidates carrying only a High School Diploma with years of experience under their belts.
You should do more thinking on the facts below and get your mental automation moving on a super-fast speed:
- If employers could replace you with robots, they will in a heartbeat. (The age of artificial intelligence and robots have been foretold by experts. https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/dear-class-2017-bill-gates ; http://vanguard.vo.llnwd.net/o1/EXT/Corp/3803_Video1.mp4 ; http://vanguard.vo.llnwd.net/o1/EXT/Corp/3803_Video3.mp4
- If you are a person of color, your odds are high ( See this link: http://www.nber.org/digest/sep03/w9873.html ;https://www.povertyactionlab.org/evaluation/discrimination-job-market-united-states). You need more than thinking; you need inspiration. Get your antenna tuned up.
- We live in a global world and people that aren’t physically living here work here. (More competition)
Here are what you can do to prepare:
- Go for a highly competitive area of study. Coursework at school may be tough, but it might pay off.
- Don’t feel entitled!
- Do your labor market analysis. Explore the NYS Labor intelligence. It breaks down job growth projections by occupation. (see link: https://www.labor.ny.gov/stats/lsproj.shtm ).
- Be creative. Strive to be extra-ordinary. You’ll stand out and bring something unique to your potential employer.
- Don’t ignore skilled trade options such as welding, plumbing, carpentry, etc. If you pursue skilled trade, get your driver’s license, join the union (see link:https://labor.ny.gov/pressreleases/apprenticeshiparchive.shtm ) and get relevant certificates.
- Start taking civil service exams now! (see link:https://www.cs.ny.gov/jobseeker/public/stateexam.cfm ; http://www.nyc.gov/html/dcas/html/work/work.shtml)
- When the time comes, organize for advocates to push for favorable legislations such as setting minimum wage for Associate and Bachelor’s degree holders and/or incentivize employers that hire NYS graduates.
- Stand up for a bias-free society. Work to promote equal opportunity.
It’s an economic law. When the supply of college graduates in NYS increases, the demand will decrease. Beware. Don’t be a victim of ‘political policy’. You work too hard to line up on a welfare roll after college graduation…. unless there is an emergency. Shine your eyes o!