Students Struggle to Compete as College Enrollment Soars

By Sarah Jackson on October 12, 2017

Rising college enrollment is forcing students to compete with an increasingly large applicant pool for career advancement opportunities, including internships and jobs.

According to a 2015 report published by the National Center for Education Statistics, college enrollment is projected to “set new records” between the fall of 2018 and the fall of 2025.

Image by Pexels via Pixabay

Such growth is particularly alarming for students of the humanities and other creative fields, where employment is already uncertain.

Tayler Macmillan, a Film and Television student at N.Y.U., knows this dilemma all too well and says she hopes to gain an edge over the competition by pursuing an area of expertise that Film and Television majors do not traditionally consider.

“I just try to specialize in places that others don’t,” Macmillan said. “Everyone in Film and Television wants to be a writer or director or producer, but I’m sort of veering towards the smaller sections to make myself more marketable.”

Macmillan hopes to work in the city after graduating and is willing to start in a job not related to her major while she seeks out more relevant positions.

“I guess, after carving out enough of a marketable self, I’ll just work anywhere and work my way up,” she said. “I’m not picky about where I start out, and there are enough places for a young sound designer to do menial work until my time comes.”

In the field of journalism, the numbers also reflect a staggering number of students vying for limited positions.

According to John Haskins, the director of The New York Times Student Journalism Institute, in an informational session about opportunities at the company, approximately 1,300 students applied for the newspaper’s newsroom internships last year, but a mere 32 were selected.

Image by mohamed1982eg via Pixabay

Melissa Lopez, a neuroscience student at N.Y.U., says the fear associated with such a high volume of qualified applicants, while intimidating, must be overcome. According to her, students should recognize not just the amount of competition, but also the amount of opportunity in the city.

“I feel like its daunting at first, but you have to think of what is best for yourself and put yourself forward,” Lopez said. “You have to be very headstrong, and just go for it. It’s better to just be curious and go for it than just sit on the sidelines, especially because there is so much opportunity out there.”

Hi there! My name is Sarah, and I'm majoring in Journalism and English at NYU. In my spare time, I like to play the violin, explore the city, and discover more indie rock bands.

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