How NYU can really help its students prepare for a tough economy


The New York Timesreports on the efforts New York University is making to help its graduating seniors "recession-proof" their job searches.

If the advice the Times pulled out for its article is any indication, most of the advice students are receiving is pretty lame: Apply for jobs near where you already are so you'll have a leg up on people who would need relocation packages (Reality check: Few companies need to offer relocation packages in this economy. Another tip? Apply for jobs in industries that are recession-proof, like alcohol or health care. That's great advice if you want to work in those fields but if you don't, it isn't.

But you can't really blame NYU for trying: The job market really stinks right now, and there's very little that you can tell students that will make it all better. But NYU's students are worse-prepared for a tough economy than most, and here's why: According to US News & World Report's 2008 guide to America's Best Colleges, NYU is tenth on the list of colleges that leave their graduates with the most debt. 58% of NYU students take out loans with an average debt load of $33,637. Ouch!

Graduating with a mid five-figure debt load into an economy with tough job prospects is not exactly and encouraging way to enter the real world.

NYU can tell its students not to be afraid but here's the truth: They have every reason to be terrified.