What happens after high school? A look at college enrollment and work activity

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Summer is quickly approaching, and soon high-school seniors will be donning their caps and gowns and receiving their diplomas. According to the National Center for Educational Statistics, 3.2 million students will be part of the 2011-12 high-school graduation class. What’s next for these young adults? How many of them will leave home come August to embark on their college adventures, and how many will forgo postsecondary education and head straight to the workforce?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics recently shed some light on the habits of high-school graduates. According to the report*, in October 2011, 68.3 percent of 2011 high-school graduates were enrolled in colleges or universities. The rate was slightly lower than the record high of 70.1 percent, set in October 2009.

Breakdown by sex, race and ethnicity

For 2011 graduates, the college enrollment rate was 72.3 percent for women and 64.6 percent for men. The college enrollment rates of Asian, white, black and Hispanic graduates were as follows:

  • Asian graduates — 86.7 percent
  • White graduates — 67.7 percent
  • Black graduates — 67.5 percent
  • Hispanic graduates — 66.6 percent

Who’s working?

  • Recent high-school graduates not enrolled in college in October 2011 were more likely than enrolled graduates to be working or looking for work — 68.7 percent compared with 38.8 percent.
  • The proportion of high-school graduates enrolled in college who were working or looking for work was 38.8 percent.
  • The labor force participation rates for male and female graduates enrolled in college were 36.5 and 41 percent, respectively.
  • Among recent high-school graduates enrolled in college in October 2011, 91.9 percent were full-time students.
  • Recent graduates enrolled as full-time students were less likely to be in the labor force (35.1 percent) than were their part-time peers (79.7 percent).
  • Approximately six in 10 recent graduates who were enrolled in college attended four-year institutions. About a third of those students were in the labor force, compared with about half of recent graduates enrolled in two-year colleges.

Want more? Check out these two videos on job-search and résumé advice for students and new grads:

How to write your first résumé

Job-search advice for students in school

For more advice on internships and finding work after college graduation, visit CareerRookie.com.

*Information on school enrollment and work activity is collected monthly in the Current Population Survey, a nationwide survey of about 60,000 households that provides information on employment and unemployment. Each October, a supplement to the CPS gathers more detailed information about school enrollment, such as full- and part-time enrollment status.

One Comment
  1. Writing a relevant and credible resume is essential even if you are not planning to work yet. You do not want to let opportunities pass you by without doing something about it. Most people would feel so pressured when prospective employers would ask for a resume in the most unexpected places but great jobs often comes from unexpected moments do grab it when you have the chance. Cheers!

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