St. Lawrence Earns Praise for Alumni Network, Internships, and Making a Difference | St. Lawrence University

St. Lawrence Earns Praise for Alumni Network, Internships, and Making a Difference

St. Lawrence University’s alumni network earned a No. 3 ranking for the third time in four years from The Princeton Review and was included on their list of best value colleges in its most recent publication, The Best Value Colleges: 200 Schools with Exceptional ROI for Your Tuition Investment.

The University also ranked seventh on The Princeton Review’s Top 20 Best Private Schools for Internships list and 20th on the Top 20 Best Private Schools for Making an Impact.

“Every Laurentian knows that St. Lawrence has one of the most empowering alumni networks around, but it’s gratifying to see this confirmed by our peers who have placed our alumni practically at the top in the nation yet again,” said President William L. Fox ’75. “Throughout the last year, Laurentians have stepped up to help our students and newest graduates by taking part in virtual networking events and mentoring opportunities offered nearly every week throughout the year. When a St. Lawrence student comes calling, Laurentians are always at the ready, eager to mentor, guide, and support. That never seems to change, even when the world does.”

Throughout the last year, members of the St. Lawrence community have reimagined what the world will need from St. Lawrence and its graduates for years to come. Among the many changes being implemented is a bold and comprehensive approach to career development at St. Lawrence in the new Center for Career Excellence, formerly known as Career Services. The Center, announced in October 2020 and made possible by a generous $3 million gift from alumna Hilary Ayn Valentine '89, will link students with career possibilities even before they matriculate. The Center will go well beyond what students have turned to Career Services for in the past, and will ensure students graduate with the resiliency, industry knowledge, practical experience, and skills needed to tackle the world’s most complex problems.

“Our goal is to put St. Lawrence at the forefront of career education,” said Jillian McKernan-Walley ’93, P’21, director of the Center for Career Excellence. “Through the Center, St. Lawrence students will enjoy enhanced career immersion programming to improve their career knowledge and competencies, as well as continue to benefit from our nationally-ranked alumni network through increased mentorship and internship opportunities. When you couple this with St. Lawrence’s liberal arts experience, every piece will help prepare students to be even more competitive than they already are in the job market.”

According to the publication, the Best Alumni Network ranking is based on students’ ratings of alumni activity and visibility on campus, while the Best Schools for Internships list is based on students’ ratings of accessibility of internship placement at their school. More than 94 percent of recent St. Lawrence University graduates were either employed or attending graduate school less than one year after graduation and 73 percent took part in at least one internship experience. The University’s alumni network is routinely among the top two factors in helping new graduates find full-time employment.

St. Lawrence’s Center for Career Excellence, often in partnership with the Laurentian Engagement and Career Connections offices, offers a number of signature career programs that are designed to engage eager alumni and parents with current students. Programs such as SLU Connect, LINC Mentor Program, the Alumni Insight Series, Laurentians in Residence, and Career Boot Camp all give students the opportunity to network with successful alumni and parents of students in a variety of career fields.

Student ratings and responses to survey questions covering community service opportunities at their school, student government, sustainability efforts, and on-campus student engagement are how The Princeton Review chose the schools included on the ‘Best Private Schools for Making an Impact’ list. At the core of St. Lawrence is a community filled with people who individually and collectively strive to make a difference in the world. More than 82 percent of recent graduates participated in and led community service projects during their four years, including several local initiatives as well as projects in their hometowns or wherever their help was needed most. Community-based learning courses, which combine civic engagement with academic instruction, critical thinking, and reflection in a reciprocal relationship that benefits students, community partners, and faculty, are also popular among students.

“We have amazing students who care about each other as much as they care about the larger community,” said Ashlee Downing-Duke, associate director of Student Activities and Leadership and coordinator of Volunteer Services. “I have seen this firsthand this year as students brainstormed the ways they could still raise awareness, money, and support for a variety of causes in our local community. They do this daily through donating canned goods to the local food pantry or writing cards to the elderly, and they do this in larger ways by participating in an alternative break service trip, shaving their head to raise money for cancer research, and graduating and starting their own non-profits. Laurentians embody our ‘serve’ pillar each and every day.”

The Princeton Review chose its Best Value Colleges for 2021 based on data the company collected from its surveys of administrators at more than 650 colleges in 2019-20. The company also factored in data from its surveys of students attending the schools as well as com surveys of alumni of the schools about their starting and mid-career salaries and job satisfaction figures.

The Princeton Review noted that the 200 schools that made Best Value Colleges all share three exceptional features: outstanding academics, affordable cost, and stellar career services. 

“The schools we name as our Best Value Colleges for 2021 comprise only just over 1% of the nation's four-year colleges," noted Robert Franek, The Princeton Review's editor-in-chief. “We salute St. Lawrence for these exceptional offerings and recommend it highly to college applicants and parents."

In August 2020, The Princeton Review commended St. Lawrence’s excellent Career Services office (now known as the Center for Career Excellence), active student government, and overall smooth operation in its publication The Best 386 Colleges: 2021 Edition. The popular college guide, which was released on Tuesday, Aug. 18, described St. Lawrence as an institution where “the ‘alumni network is super active,’ students have ‘lots of opportunities for hands-on research’ and nearly two-thirds of SLU undergrads study abroad.” The Princeton Review also included St. Lawrence on its most recent list of Green Colleges and both editions of its Colleges That Create Futures publication.

The Princeton Review’s complete online profile of St. Lawrence University can be viewed at