A Denison Education Prepares You for a Life of Success

Graduated students throwing caps
Graduates celebrating their Denison education

What’s the value of a Denison education? To answer that question, we turn to experts who can tell us firsthand: recent alumni. Each year, we survey alumni five years after graduation—to hear about their experiences post-Denison and the ways in which they felt prepared for professional success.

So, what do we learn from talking with alumni? Here are the most recent data on the subject.

First, at the five-year mark since graduation, 95% of alumni are on their way to achieving their professional goals in their desired field or position. In addition, 94% are satisfied with how well Denison prepared them for professional success. Alumni, overwhelmingly, have successfully launched into their professional paths at this five-year snapshot.

We also know that because of their courses and professors at Denison, nearly 90% indicate being well-prepared for graduate school. Denison’s rigorous courses, engaging professors, and abundant undergraduate research opportunities all contributed to their ability to thrive at the graduate level. When asked to articulate the value of a Denison education, alums spoke at great length about the power of this type of mentorship from Denison faculty and staff. In fact, 92% of alumni report having at least one close relationship with a faculty or staff member. One alumna described the mentorship she received at Denison:

For me, the greatest asset of a Denison education is the close, personal relationships with Denison faculty and staff. At Denison, I always felt that I had faculty and staff looking out for me and going out of their way to help me succeed in school and in life, in the (then) present and the future. At Denison, these individuals really knew me and were invested in my personal and professional success—they weren't just teachers, they were advocates, friends, life coaches, and mentors, and I wouldn't be where I am without them.”

Alums also spoke about the ways in which their curricular experience prepared them for success in the workplace, allowing them to hit the ground running in their first job: “At Denison, you are challenged not to just read the material but to comprehend it. Not to regurgitate it, but to apply it to what is happening in your own life and the outside world. You don't know how important this is until you are placed in a work team at your new job and realize you are the only one with all of the skills and knowledge to get the project going from start to finish.”

We also know that the Denison experience—both in and outside the classroom—provides opportunities to develop skills for professional success: critical thinking, written and oral communication, and teamwork, to name just a few. Employers seek candidates who can work collaboratively with others. One alumnus spoke to how Denison contributes to the cultivation of teamwork: “Professionally Denison taught me the importance of true leadership and how to reach across the aisle to people who don't share same ideas or life experiences and still produce something that works for all.”

Beyond preparing students to obtain great careers, Denison faculty and staff are committed to providing opportunities for students to gain skills and knowledge to be able to lead great lives.

And that commitment bears out in the data—with nearly 90% of alumni reporting Denison contributed to their ability to lead a rich and fulfilling life.

We also learned that co-curricular involvement during college, ranging from leadership positions, varsity athletics, student organizations, campus jobs, or community service, contributed to alumni success after college, providing opportunities to develop critical skills. One alumnus reflected on how Denison fosters a culture of action, creating leaders who are change agents during college and who take those skills in creativity, problem-solving, and innovation with them into the world: “Denison enabled deep interaction with people like and unlike me across many dimensions. Denison gave me the tools and experience to engage in dialogue across lines of difference. Denison was an excellent laboratory for exploring and developing my own leadership and ability to make change happen in innovative ways.”

This commitment to civic action and the local community doesn’t end at graduation. Nearly 75% of alumni report volunteering in their local communities. Denison instilled the values of civic engagement: “Denison taught me that helping others climb while you reach is far more rewarding than getting to the top of the mountain and being by yourself. Denison taught me that to have knowledge and not use it to make the world a better place is a waste of an education. It taught me that I have a duty to engage in discourse and dialogue to make world a better place.”

Together, these findings demonstrate that a Denison education, which takes place in classrooms and labs, athletic fields and theatres, student organizations and residence halls, prepares students to lead extraordinary lives after graduation, as leaders in their industry as well as their local communities, with the skills to make a difference.

August 15, 2017