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Career Services Follow Up Survey - Class of 2018 Executive Summary

[Executive Summary for Class of 2019 Coming Soon]


Career Services is committed to empowering students and graduates to develop their sense of purpose through formal study and active engagement beyond the classroom. 

The stated mission of career services at St. Lawrence University cited above is followed by this aim: We work to establish a network of support to help students navigate their own development with confidence as they explore career options, advance their personal brand, expand their experiences and thrive in a dynamic world. Among the many ways we assess our effectiveness in carrying out our work in the context of the university’s overall mission is to capture the first destination outcomes of St. Lawrence graduates, who are beginning their careers in a diverse and ever-changing world. This study of the Class of 2018 features those outcomes, reflecting initial stages of what we believe is a hallmark of liberal arts education: practical preparation for a lifetime of productive and purposeful work.

Like most St. Lawrence graduating classes over the past decade, over 95 percent of the Class of 2018 are either working or engaged in further education. Survey results show a slight outcomes decline from the previous class (from 96.6% to 95.4%) but the overall record of high achievement in a wide variety of career paths and continuing education is sustained. The offices of Career Services and Institutional Research collaborate each year to conduct this study that captures early outcomes of new alumni. The Class of 2018 survey was launched in December, 2018, about 6 months after commencement, and closed in early February, 2019. The results provide details on where 2018 graduates have landed, including data on most popular industries, job functions, their median and mean salaries, work satisfaction and continuing education pursuits. Also, the 2018 graduates reported on the importance of various undergraduate activities and experiences that helped to shape their current situation, such as co-curricular activities, internships, interactions with faculty, staff, alumni and other campus resources. A total of 374 of the 511 graduates (those completing their degrees in May 2018 and August 2018) completed the survey for a 73.2 percent response rate, which is identical to the previous year’s rate and well above the 65 percent minimum and less restrictive* “knowledge rate” set by the National Association of Colleges and Employers.

*This study includes only self-reported data collected through the follow-up first destination survey itself; NACE standards allow for schools to collect data from various legitimate sources, not only student survey responses but also employer-, parent-, or faculty-provided information, LinkedIn profiles, other online sources, and fellow graduates to arrive at an overall “knowledge rate.”

Selected findings of the survey and study are highlighted here:

Fewer graduates of 2018 are engaged immediately in continuing education than in previous years. Nearly 20 percent of the Class of 2017 and 19.1 percent of the Class of 2016 matriculated in further full-time study soon after graduating, while 15.9 percent of the 2018 cohort report continuing education as their primary activity. A decline in graduate study enrollment when the overall job market is strong is not unusual, and this drop in immediate enrollment might be attributed to that general phenomenon. Data from other sources such as the National Student Clearinghouse show that within 5 years of graduating, 43 percent of St. Lawrence alumni are engaged in further study, suggesting that many work for a few years before enrolling in graduate or professional programs. There is no reason to think this class would be much different, but only time will tell. Programs in education, science and technology, and social sciences top the list of further study destinations.

The mean salary increased from $41,524 (2017) to $44, 966 (2018), with the median salary at $44,500.

Most of the Class of 2018 is either very satisfied (49 percent) or generally satisfied (43 percent) with their current work; 82 percent report that their work is directly or somewhat related to their desired career path, up from 81 percent in 2017, and 85 percent indicate their current position is one that would typically be held by someone with a bachelor’s degree.

Over one-third of the respondents with full-time work reported having secured their employment prior to graduation (35 percent), with another 15 percent within one month, 24 percent within 2-3 months, and the remaining quarter finding work 4 months or longer after graduation. This class settled into work more quickly than the previous year’s class, with half securing employment within a month of graduating.

Top industries employing this cohort of graduates are finance, K-12 education, health services and health care, advertising/marketing/public relations/design, travel and tourism, and retail/wholesale, followed by non-profits/social entrepreneurship/NGOs, software development, and insurance. Research science, higher education, environmental science/engineering/energy, fine and performing arts/fashion/entertainment, government/policy/think tanks/international, and information technology services also had strong showings in the industry category. The top job function reported is sales/account management/customer service with education/teaching/coaching and financial services/accounting/banking a close second and third. Research/analysis/laboratory and field science followed by administrative/management/support and marketing/public relations/media/communications rounded out the top six types of work.

Among the greatest influences on “sources of employment” are internships or previous employment, the St. Lawrence alumni network, current and former St. Lawrence students, St. Lawrence faculty and staff, and parents or friends of other SLU students. These results reflect and support the emphasis we place on connections and networking in our programs and in our one-on-one coaching of students.

Internship participation remained strong with nearly 70 percent of survey respondents indicating they had participated in at least one as an undergraduate, with many reporting multiple internships and an increasing number in experiences that are paid -- 68.5 percent were paid compared to 65 percent in 2017 and 55.5 percent in 2016. We continue to grow our Internship Fellowship program, having made it a priority of the Campaign for Every Laurentian. The generosity of donors and a growing endowment help to offset the cost of living and travel expenses that students incur during summer internship experiences. Also, many students experience internships through the curriculum, especially in St. Lawrence study away programs.

Early engagement with Career Services continues with over 60 percent of survey respondents reporting they visited the office or attended career-focused events during their first year. This percentage has climbed from 44 percent of the 2016 graduates and 51 percent of 2017 graduates. “Early and often” messaging and growing partnerships with First Year Program faculty and other campus groups have helped us to meet this priority. Engagement as sophomores also increased by nearly 10 percent with 75 percent reporting they had at least one encounter during their sophomore year.

This information is shared with the St. Lawrence community including University Communications, Admissions, academic departments and University Advancement to assist them in accomplishing their work objectives and with the general public through prominent placement on the University’s web site and in other media. The results also serve as a source of pride as we celebrate our graduates’ successes.

I wisto express my special gratitudtChristinZimmermaand JasminPatraw oInstitutional ResearchAnn Pedersen anMichelle GouldCareer Services, anall of th2018-19 Career Services Interns, under the supervision of Tiara Davis, for their help with the survey and this report.

Respectfully submitted,

Ron Albertson

Director of Career Services

June 2019


See the Full Report.

See the 5 year academic division and department Outcome Profile summaries.




Employed Full-Time 246 66.5%  
Employed FT Volunteer 16 4.3%  
Employed FT, Continued Ed PT 7 1.9%  
Employed FT, Volunteer, Continued Ed PT 1 0.3%
Total Employed Full-Time 270 73.0%
Employed PT 22 5.9%  
Employed PT, Continued Ed PT 1 0.3%  
Total Employed Part-Time 23 6.2%  
Internships or research experience, unpaid 1 0.3%  
Total Primarily Pursuing a Career 294 79.5%  
Continued Ed FT 26 7.0%  
Continued Ed FT, Volunteer PT 0 0.0%  
Continued Ed FT, Employed FT 19 5.1%  
Continued Ed FT, Employed PT 13 3.5%  
Continued Ed PT 1 0.3%  
Total Primarily Pursuing Education 59 15.9%  
 Pursuing Employment or Continued Ed 17  4.6%   
Final Outcome Rate* 353/370  95.4%  
  Total Reporting Rate: 374/511  73.2% 

*Data analysis excludes 4 new graduates who are neither pursuing a job nor continued education at the time of the survey.