by Diane Tuazon
ODESSA - With only three weeks away from graduation, tough times have more students wanting to stay in school. They're afraid there might not be a job for them on the other side of that graduation stage.
"It's kind of scary because the job prospects are kind of bleak for graduates," Student Renae Ludrick, said.
Both UTPB and Odessa College administrators say they've seen an increase in enrollment.
"Students are coming to us and enrollment has increased. This area the job market has started to slow down," Cheri Dalton with Odessa College, said.
For senior Renae Ludrick, staying in school a little longer to earn a master's degree is something she feels will help her with finding a job in a struggling economy.
"Bachelor's are becoming much more common than in the past. Getting training on extra skills with a Masters is giving you a leg up above the competition," Ludrick said.
Ludrick is not alone when it comes to putting a little extra hours in school.
"A lot of times if you don't have more than a Bachelor's. they don't look at you," Student Brent Mason, said.
For Mason, switching his major to the medical field where jobs are in demand is what he feels will get him ahead when it comes to landing that first job out of College.
"Even if the economy goes wrong, you're still going to need medical people," Mason said.
Whether it's working on a master's degree or taking extra classes, students are looking for ways to ride out the economic storm.
"We are seeing that students are wanting to go back to school to get different training or pursue a different type of degree," Dalton said.