Apr 15, 2020 - Economy

College students' future jobs take a big hit

A graduation cap from a 2016 commencement ceremony, reading "Hire Me" with a QR code

A graduation cap from a 2016 commencement in New York City. Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Three in four college students who secured internships or post-graduate work have seen those plans thrown into flux by the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new College Reaction poll. Half of those students say their plans have been cancelled, while the other half say they've been delayed or made remote.

Why it matters: The summers between college years are key for the new generation of workers to gain valuable experience and contribute to the economy — and many use the summers to earn money to pay tuition.

  • Missing out could send scores of young people deeper into debt or set them back when they graduate and enter the workforce.

The academic experience is also bringing on disappointment for students. 77% say distance learning is worse or much worse than in-person classes.

The big picture: The crisis is weighing heavily on the psyche of college students.

  • 90% say they are concerned about the U.S. economy and the job market.
  • 51% say they are experiencing mental health distress, with 15% reporting that they feel a great deal of it. Female respondents were nearly three times as likely as male respondents to report severe mental health distress.
  • 67% say they are concerned about the effect of social isolation.

Methodology: The poll was conducted April 10-12 from a representative sample of 822 college students with a margin of error of +/- 3.4 percentage points.

College Reaction’s polling is conducted using a demographically representative panel of college students from around the country. The surveys are administered digitally and use college e-mail addresses as an authentication tool to ensure current enrollment in a four-year institution. The target for the general population sample was students currently enrolled in accredited 4-year institutions in the United States.

Go deeper