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2012 Alumni Survey
Executive Summary

Survey Methods

Alumni who received a bachelor's degree from NC State between Summer 2006 and Spring 2009 were surveyed during the Spring semester of 2012. Alumni were sent a personalized letter asking them to complete the online survey. Up to five follow-up reminders were sent to nonrespondents. Incentives consisted of random drawings from among respondents to win various cash prizes.

Accurate address information (mail and/or email) was obtained for 11,389 of the 12,562 alumni graduating between Summer 2006 and Spring 2009 (91.6%). A total of 2,856 surveys were completed, resulting in a response rate of 25.1 percent.

Overall Satisfaction

Overall, respondents were satisfied with the quality of the undergraduate education provided by NC State. Over 90 percent of respondents say the undergraduate education they received from NC State was either "very strong" (52%) or "strong" (43%). The vast majority of respondents say they would recommend NC State to a friend (94%). Slightly fewer say they would still choose NC State if they were starting again (86%). Although still a majority, notably fewer respondents say they would still choose the same field of study (56%).

Connection to NC State

While most alumni who express a desire to stay connected to NC State report that they have that sense of connection, there is room for improvement. Overall, 72 percent say it is "very" (42%) or "moderately important" (30%) to feel connected to NC State, but only slightly less than half of all respondents say they currently feel either "moderately" (28%) or "very connected" (15%) to the University.

Post-Graduation Activities

Two-thirds of respondents (65%) say their primary activity during the year after completion of their undergraduate degree was "working full-time." One-in-four alumni reported attending graduate/professional school either "full-time" (22%) or "part-time" (3%) the year after they graduated.

College of Education (74%) respondents were most likely and Physical and Mathematical Sciences respondents (52%) least likely to say their primary activity after graduation was "working full-time." More than one-third of respondents in the Colleges of Physical and Mathematical Sciences (42%) and Agriculture and Life Sciences (35%) say their primary activity following graduation was attending graduate/professional school either full-time or part-time. College of Design respondents were least likely to have attended graduate/professional school in the year after graduation (6%).

Post-Graduation Employment

First Full-Time Permanent Position

Three-fourths of alumni seeking employment found a permanent full-time position within six months of graduating. Twelve percent continued in a position they had prior to graduation, 34 percent accepted a new position prior to or upon graduation, and the remaining 28 percent found a position within six months. The most common resources used in locating and acquiring a position were an internship/externship (22%), family/friends/classmates/co-workers (22%), and personal connections within the company (20%)

Half of the alumni say their first full-time permanent position was "directly related" to their major, and another 27 percent say their job was "somewhat related". Alumni felt well-prepared for their first post-graduation position, with 34 percent saying they had "excellent" preparation by NC State for their job, and another 45 percent rating their preparation as "good".

The overall average starting salary for alumni's first permanent full-time position was about $40,500. About one-fourth reported earning a starting salary of under $30,000 (27%), while 10 percent earned over $60,000. Starting salaries varied widely by college, with College of Engineering graduates most likely to have earned over $60,000 (28%), and College of Agriculture and Life Sciences alumni most likely to have earned less than $30,000 (40%).

Current Position

The majority of respondents are currently employed full-time, with 78 percent working at least 35 hours per week. Another 8 percent are working part-time. At the time they completed the survey 5 percent of alumni said they were unemployed and looking for work. The remaining 8 percent were not employed and not looking for work. Full-time employment is related to graduate/professional school status, with almost 90 percent of those not currently enrolled in graduate/professional school (87%) working full-time, compared to 45 percent of those who are currently in school. About 30 percent of the alumni who are currently in graduate/professional school say they are not employed and not looking for a job.

About 70 percent of currently employed alumni are working in North Carolina, with 47 percent working in the Triangle area.

The majority of currently employed alumni are working in the private sector (61%). Sixteen percent work in academia, 12 percent for the federal, state, or local government, and 8 percent for a private non-profit. Relatively few alumni (3%) say they are self-employed. The average annual salary of those currently working in full-time position is about $47,320, with 20 percent earing under $30,000, and 29 percent earning $60,000 or more.

Three-fourths of currently employed alumni are working in jobs either "directly" (46%) or "somewhat" related (31%) to their academic major at NC State. From a list of industries identified by the U.S. Census Bureau, alumni were most likely to select "professional, scientific, and technical services" as the industry in which they currently work (21%), followed by "educational services" (12%), manufacturing (9%), and "health care and social assistance" (8%). Regardless of the field in which they work, the majority feel that NC State gave them "excellent" (31%) or "good" preparation for their current possition.

Further Education

Since receiving their undergraduate degree from NC State over 40 percent of respondents have enrolled in graduate/professional school. Seventeen percent have already completed a degree, 4 percent have completed one degree and are currently seeking a second degree, and 17 percent are currently enrolled seeking their first degree. Three percent reported that they were enrolled in graduate/professional school but left without completing a degree. Among those who have never enrolled, about 30 percent have either a "high" (7%) or "moderate" (21%) interest in continuing their education through graduate or professional school.

The majority of those going on for a graduate/professional degree are attending/attended an institution in North Carolina, with over one-third (36%) earning or seeking an advanced degree from NC State.

While the vast majority of those earning or seeking a Masters degree received/are seeking either an MA or MS, notable numbers are/were enrolled in an MBA program, with relatively few alumni in a wide range of other Masters' programs. All those seeking or earning a Doctoral degree are/were in a Ph.D. program. Among those attending professional school, the most common degree being earned/sought is a JD, followed by a DVM, then MD and PharmD.

Over half of those attending graduate/professional school received one or more types of funding (58%), including scholarships (25%), Research Assistantships (23%), and Teaching Assistantships (13%).

About one-third of the alumni respondents have taken a continuing education class (34%), with more than a fourth of them saying the course(s) had a "very significant" impact on their professional career (26%) or personal life (29%). Participation in such courses is likely to continue, with 20 percent of all respondents saying it is "very likely" that they would enroll in a continuing education course in the future.

Undergraduate Education Goals

Respondents were asked to rate the importance of 48 undergraduate education goals to their current professional and personal lives, and their satisfaction with the extent to which their undergraduate education prepared them to achieve each goal.

Goal Importance

At least half the respondents rate all but 15 of the items as "very important," and for only 5 items do more than 10 percent of respondents say the skill is "not at all important." Most likely to be seen as "very important" by alumni are:

Most likely to considered by alumni as "not at all important" to them currently are:

Goal Preparation

While few alumni indicate that NC State had "not at all" contributed to their development of a skill, for only 9 of the 48 items do half or more of the respondents say that NC State contributed "very much" to their development of it. Skills for which NC State is most likely to have contributed "very much" are:

Alumni are most likely to say that NC State contributed "not at all" to their development of:

Importance vs Preparation

Alumni ratings of the importance of each goal was typically higher than their rating of how well they were prepared on that goal. Differences were especially large for:

Undergraduate Experiences

About half of the alumni survey respondents indicated they had some international experience while an undergraduate at NC State, either through NC State or for some other reason. Seventeen percent participated in an NC State Study Abroad program, three percent participated in an NC State service trip, and 24 percent say they had gotten some international experience locally by attending an activity on campus. Over 70 percent of alumni with an such NC State sponsored international experience (either local or abroad) say that it contributed "a great deal" to helping them appreciate diverse perspective/different cultures (71%) and 60 percent say it contributed "a great deal" to helping them better understand world problems/issues. Alumni were slightly less likely to say their international experience did "a great deal" to positively impact their work attitudes and skills (51%), and were least likely to believe their international experience did "a great deal" to improve their problem solving skills (39%). "Financial contraints" was the most common reason cited for not participating in a Study Abroad and/or service learning trip.

About 45 percent of alumni say their undergraduate experience included an internship or externship (44%). Work-related experience was also obtained by notable numbers of alumni through summer employment or a part-time job in a field related to their academic major (35%), student teaching (11%), or through the Cooperative Education Program (8%). Twenty percent indicated that they had participated in a research project with an NC State faculty member.

Over 80 percent of alumni had participated in at least one of numerous different types of clubs or organizations on campus while an undergraduate, most commonly organizations/clubs related to their major (40%), intramural/recreational sports or club teams (31%), and honor/professional fraternities/sororities (21%). Half of those participating in any of the different types of clubs or organizations asked about say they had had a leadership role in it.

Current Behaviors

Alumni were asked a number of questions about their current behaviors with respect to community service, physical exercise, participation in the arts, keeping up with current events and pleasure reading. Overall, almost 40 percent of alumni report that they volunteer their time about once per month or more, and almost 90 percent say they exercise at least once per week. One-third say they typically attend an arts/cultural event about once per month or more. Finally, while the majority of alumni say they keep up with current events on a regular basis, they are less likely to regularly read for pleasure.

For more information on the 2012 Alumni Survey contact:
Dr. Nancy Whelchel, Associate Director for Survey Research
Office of Institutional Planning and Research
Box 7002
Phone: (919) 515-4184

Posted: July, 2012

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