97 Percent of 2011 Augustana Graduates Accept Employment

While the national unemployment rate continues to hover above 8 percent, 97 percent of 2011 Augustana graduates seeking employment have accepted a position related to their major or chosen field.

According to a recent report by the Augustana Career Center, among the 342 recent graduates who pursued positions in nursing, human services and business, 100 percent report they are now working in those fields.

In education – a hot topic locally and nationally – 98 percent of Elementary/Special Education majors report being employed in their field.

In addition, 75 percent of 2011 graduates accepting employment remained in South Dakota. Of the 189 graduates now working in South Dakota, 98 were originally residents of the state.

“These numbers speak to the power of a liberal arts education in a down economy,” said Rob Oliver, president. “From the broad-based knowledge provided by our renowned professors, to the exposure and perspective gained through international travel, to the ideas that swell from a culturally and ethnically diverse campus – after their time at Augustana, our liberally educated graduates have mastered the ability to think critically, reason analytically and thoughtfully, and write effectively. They are well-suited to contribute and thrive in virtually any field, anywhere around the globe.”

“At the same time, we’re proud to say that Augustana continues to be a net importer of intellectual capital to the state of South Dakota. Our students enter Augustana to learn and they leave with a commitment to serve – to make tomorrow’s world even better. They’re doing just that in South Dakota communities east and west of the River.”

In addition to accepting jobs after graduation, 20 percent of 2011 graduates are now enrolled in graduate programs. Of those, 31 percent are in medical school; 20 percent are pursuing advanced study in the sciences, such as biology and chemistry; and 7 percent are in law school.

Augustana’s 97 percent job placement rate for 2011 graduates is an increase of 3 percent over the placement rates for May 2010 graduates.

Critical to graduate outcomes is the Augustana Career Center, which works with employers around the world to match students and soon-to-be graduates to internships and open positions. The Center also helps students prepare for the transition from college to career by providing resume-building advice, interview coaching, workshops and the annual Career Symposium, which features panel discussions by Augustana alumni in a variety of career fields.

In 2011, more than 800 students and alumni utilized services provided by the Career Center.

“Augustana graduates have enjoyed the positive trend of securing employment and continuing their education after graduation for the past 27 years,” said Sandi Vietor, director of the Augustana Career Center. “Year after year, we hear from employers and professional schools who categorize our graduates as exceptional leaders, creative thinkers and effective decision-makers who, from day one, bring a global perspective to their professional roles.”

According to a recent study, liberally educated individuals may be among the most financially and professionally secure in today’s still-challenged economy.

After analyzing standardized test results, a recent survey by the Social Science Research Council found that recent college graduates who scored highest on skills most often associated with a liberal arts education – critical thinking, reasoning and writing – were:

  • Three times less likely to be unemployed (3.1 percent vs. 9.6 percent);
  • Half as likely to be living with their parents (18 percent vs. 35 percent);
  • Less likely to have acquired credit card debt (37 percent vs. 51 percent).