Carolina State University
2003 Baccalaureate Alumni Survey:
- Alumni who received bachelor's degrees from NC State between Summer 1997
and Spring 2000 were surveyed in the Spring of 2003. Alumni were sent up to
three personalized letters asking them to complete the survey on the web.
The survey included a lottery-type incentive of $250 for each of four respondents.
- Alumni for whom the Office of Alumni Relations did not have accurate address
information were excluded from the survey sample. Of the 10,401 eligible alumni,
9,254 (89.0%) were included in the final sample. A total of 2,963 surveys
were completed, resulting in a response rate of 32 percent (2,963 of 9,254)
and a margin of error of +1.2 at the 95 percent confidence level.
Goals of Undergraduate Education
- Respondents were asked to rate the importance of 17 goals to their current
profession, and their satisfaction with the extent to which NC State helped
them develop each goal. On average, respondents gave the highest importance
ratings to preparing for a career (mean rating = 4.64), ability
to think critically (4.56), viewing learning as a lifelong process
(4.56), and understanding my own abilities and interests (4.50). Respondents
gave the highest average satisfaction ratings to NC State's contribution to
their acquiring a broad education (4.33) and ability to think critically
- Respondents consistently gave higher ratings to the importance of a goal
than to their satisfaction with the extent to which NC State contributed to
their development of the goal. However, goals ranked relatively high in importance
were usually also ranked relatively high in satisfaction, and goals ranked
relatively low in importance were ranked relatively low in satisfaction. Two
important exceptions to this pattern are preparing for a career and
understanding my own abilities and interests, which were ranked much
higher in importance than in satisfaction. In addition, respondents ranked
acquiring a broad education and understanding how science and technology
influence everyday life notably higher in satisfaction than in importance.
- Women and African Americans gave consistently higher ratings than men and
whites, respectively, to the importance of and satisfaction with each of the
undergraduate educational goals.
- Alumni from the College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHASS) more generally
gave higher ratings than alumni from other colleges to the importance of each
of the undergraduate educational goals. Alumni from the College of Education
(CED) generally gave higher satisfaction ratings than did those from other
General Education Preparation
- Respondents were asked about the success of eight general education goals
emphasized by NC State. More than three-fourths of respondents agreed that
their NC State education prepared them to be competitive (86.0%), they
know how to access and use information (86.8%), they read newspapers
and magazines frequently (81.1%), and that their NC State courses encouraged
creative thinking (81.6%). Respondents were least likely to agree that
social science courses were useful (58.7%) and that foreign language
helped them appreciate other cultures (61.4%).
- Women gave higher average ratings than men to the usefulness of their social
science (3.73 vs 3.50) and foreign language courses (3.85 vs 3.56). While
women were more likely than men to report reading for leisure frequently
(4.09 vs 3.57), men were more likely than women to report reading newspapers
and magazines frequently (4.30 vs 4.05). African American and non-African
American minority respondents were more likely than white respondents to report
that they made friends with diverse persons while at NC State (4.21
and 4.27 vs 3.92, respectively).
- More than 30 percent of respondents have either completed (14.1%), are currently
enrolled in (15.1%), or have been accepted (2.2%) into graduate or professional
school. Of those who are currently enrolled in graduate or professional school,
about 64 percent are enrolled full-time. Over two-thirds of those who have
never applied to graduate/professional school have either high (32.7%) or
moderate (37.4%) interest in doing so.
- The proportion of alumni who have completed, are currently enrolled in,
or have been accepted into graduate or professional school ranges from a low
of about 18 percent among alumni from the College of Natural Resources (CNR)
to a high of about 40 percent among alumni from the College of Physical and
Mathematical Sciences (PAMS).
- About 40 percent of those currently enrolled or having completed graduate/professional
school reported that they received "excellent" preparation from NC State for
graduate or professional school. Women, however, were more likely than men
to report "excellent" preparation for graduate/professional school (42.1%
versus 36.9%), and whites more likely than African American and non-African
American minority respondents to report "excellent" preparation (40.4% versus
30.9% and 33.3%, respectively).
- Respondents were more likely to pursue post-graduate education at NC State
than any other institution. About one-third (36.2%) of alumni who have completed,
are currently enrolled in, or plan to attend graduate/professional school
received or plan to receive a graduate degree from NC State. The next most
frequently listed graduate/professional school was the University of North
Carolina at Chapel Hill (7.6%).
- Of the going on to graduate/professional school, alumni most frequently
reported receiving or planning to receive an advanced degree in management
(19.4%), engineering (18.4%), or the humanities and social sciences (14.2%).
Of alumni who have completed, are currently enrolled, or plan to attend graduate/professional
school, about two-thirds have received or plan to receive a master's degree,
11 percent a doctoral degree, 7 percent a medical degree, and 7 percent a
- About 80 percent of those currently enrolled in graduate or professional
school were also working either full-time (60.9%) or part-time (19.1%).
- While more than half (53%) of all respondents had a permanent full-time
position before (17.2%) or upon (35.8%) graduation, this was more likely for
men (59.9%), whites (53.8%), and non-African American minority students (54.3%)
than for women (44.3%) and African Americans (39.0%). The proportion of alumni
who had a permanent full-time position before or upon graduation also varies
by college, ranging from about 36 percent among CHASS alumni to about 77 percent
among College of Engineering (COE) alumni.
- About 52 percent of respondents said that their first job was "directly
related" to the degree they received from NC State. Of the 16 percent of respondents
whose first job was "not related" to their degree, 64 percent said that they
chose to be employed outside their field of study.
- African American respondents (25.0%) were more likely than whites (15.4%)
and non-African American minority respondents (15.2%) to be employed outside
their field of study in their first job after graduation, and were less likely
to be doing so by choice (44.7% vs 66.1% and 63.6%, respectively). Although
similar proportions of women and men were in first jobs unrelated to their
major (17.6% and 14.7%), women were less likely than men to have had such
a position by choice (56.9% vs 70.8%).
- Alumni from Design and CED were more likely than those from other colleges
to obtain first jobs that were "directly related" to their degree (71.2% and
71.6%, respectively). Alumni from CHASS were least likely to report that their
first job was "directly related" to their field of study (33.7%).
- About 76 percent of respondents report either "excellent" (27.3%) or "good"
(48.8%) preparation by NC State for their first job. Alumni from Design gave
the lowest average rating to how well NC State prepared them for their first
job (3.45) and those from CED (4.15) and CNR (4.11) the highest.
- About one fourth of alumni reported starting salaries of under $25,000 for
their first full-time position after graduation while 7.5 percent reported
starting salaries of $50,000 or higher. The most common starting salary range
reported was between $25,000 and $29,999 (21.5%). COE alumni were far more
likely than those from other colleges to report starting salaries of $50,000
or higher (19.1%). CED alumni were more likely than those from other colleges
to report starting salaries of under $25,000 (50.8%). Women reported lower
starting salaries than men, and African Americans reported lower salaries
than whites and non-African American minorities.
- About 70 percent of respondents had work-related experience, such as through
a cooperative education program, internship, or research, while at NC State.
Women (35.7%) were more likely than men (27.3%), and African American respondents
(41.6%) were more likely than white (30.8%), and non-African American minority
respondents (25.1%) to have participated in an internship. Men (18.5%) were
more likely than women (8.4%) and non-African American minorities (21.6%)
more likely than white (13.6%) and African American responents (11.0%) to
have participated in a cooperative education program.
- Of those who had work-related experience while at NC State, 81 percent
reported that this experience helped them secure their current position of
employment. In addition, Alumni who participated in a work-related experience
at NC State were more likely to be both initially employed and currently employed
within their field of study than alumni who did not participate in a work-related
experience (57.8% vs 41.0%, and 48.3% vs 40.2%, respectively).
- More than 90 percent of respondents are currently employed either full-time
(87.6%) or part-time (4.6%). Men are more likely than women (35.5% vs 28.6%),
and whites and non-African American minorities more likely than African Americans
(32.8% and 33.1% vs 26.2%) to be currently employed in the same position they
first started in after graduation. Alumni from CED (50.8%) and COE (42.3%)
are more likely than those from other colleges to be in the same position.
- About 50 percent of respondents report that their current job is "directly
related" to the degree they received from NC State.
- Of the 18 percent of respondents whose current job is "not related" to their
degree, 80 percent report that they chose to be employed outside their field
- Alumni from Design (74.7%) are the most likely, and those from CHASS (30.2%)
least likely, to currently hold jobs that are "directly related" to their
degree. However, with the exception of Design graduates, the large majority
of those from each college that are not currently employed in their field
of study, choose to be employed outside their field of study. Interestingly,
while about 72 percent of alumni from CED held first jobs that were "directly
related" to their degree, that figure dropped to 56 percent for their current
- As with their first job after graduation, African Americans (24.1%) are
still more likely than whites (17.3%) to be currently employed outside their
major field, and less likely to be in that situation by choice (58.8% vs 83.0%).
- Three-fourths of currently employed respondents report "excellent" (26.8%)
or "good" (47.7%) preparation by NC State for their current positions. As
with their first jobs after graduation, respondents from Design (3.61) gave
the lowest average ratings, and those from CED the highest (4.16), to how
well NC State prepared them for their current position.
- Current salaries among full-time employees are most likely to be between
$30,000 and $34,999 among alumni from CALS, CED, CNR, and CHASS. Current salaries
are most likely to be between $35,000 and $39,999 among Design and PAMS alumni,
between $40,000 and $44,999 among COM alumni, and between $45,000 and $49,999
among COT alumni. COE alumni are most likely to have current incomes between
$50,000 and $54,999.
- As would be expected, alumni who received their bachelors' degrees more
recently have lower incomes than those who graduated earlier. As compared
to about 5 percent of alumni who graduated during academic year 1999-2000
and about 11 percent of alumni who graduated during academic year 1998-1999,
20 percent of alumni who graduated during academic year 1997-1998 currently
earn $65,000 or more per year.
- Women (13.5%) were twice as likely as men (6.2%) to have reported current
earnings less than $25,000, while men (25.2%) were more than two and one-half
times more likely than women (9.2%) to earn $60,000 or more per year. Non-African
American minority respondents (24.1%) were more likely than whites (18.4%)
and African American respondents (13.3%) to earn $60,000 or more per year.
- Respondents were asked to rate the importance of 36 professional skills
and how well NC State prepared them for each skill. Two-thirds or more respondents
rated the following skills as "very important" in their current professional
- Overall communication skills (72.5%)
- Conducting work activities in an ethical manner (69.4%)
- Being dependable and punctual (69.1%)
- Willingness to accept new responsibilities (68.2%)
- Using knowledge to solve problems overall (67.2%)
- Ability to work independently (66.4%)
- Confidence in my ability to perform well (66.3%)
- Forty-five percent or more respondents rated the following skills as "not
important" or "of limited importance" in their current professional positions:
- Foreign language skills (68.8%)
- Technical computer skills (46.8%)
- One-third or more respondents reported "excellent" preparation by NC State
in the following areas:
- Ability to work in teams (38.4%)
- Ability to work independently (38.1%)
- Working under pressure (36.4%)
- Ability to learn independently (36.1%)
- Skills gained through research, internship, or teaching experience
- Ability to learn independently (35.4%)
- Ability to work with persons from diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds
- Basic computer skills (34.4%)
- Conducting work activities in an ethical manner (34.0%)
- Twenty percent or more rated their preparation for the following skills
as "fair" or "poor":
- Foreign language skills (28.5%)
- Technical computer skills (22.9%)
- Overall, women placed more importance than men on professional skills in
their current position. Although the differences in preparation ratings were
not as great as those for importance ratings, women's ratings for skill preparation
were also generally higher than those given by men. African American respondents
and non-African American minority respondents gave higher ratings than white
respondents to importance of skills in their current professional positions.
The racial/ethnic differences in preparation ratings were not as great.
- Respondents consistently rated skills higher in importance than in preparation.
However, in general, skills ranked high in importance were also ranked relatively
high in preparation. Skills ranked relatively high in importance but relatively
low in preparation include:
- Overall communication skills
- Ability to grow on the job
- Confidence in performance
- Listening skills
- Leadership and management skills
- Ability to adjust to new job demands
- As a group, respondents gave the highest rating to being kept informed
about the NC State community (mean rating=3.12) and the lowest rating
to NC State reunions (2.44). However, while on average white respondents
gave the highest rating to the value of being kept informed about the NC
State community (3.13), African American respondents gave the highest
average rating to the value of receiving career planning and placement
For more information on the
2003 Baccalaureate Alumni Survey contact:
Dr. Nancy Whelchel, Associate Director for Survey Research
Office of Institutional Planning and Research
Phone: (919) 515-4184
Posted: April, 2003
Download a Microsoft
Word Version of this document.
to 2003 Baccalaureate Alumni Survey Table of Contents Page
to OIRP Survey Page
to OIRP Home Page