Our alumni success story.
Students come to college to learn how to be the architects of their lives. A Denison education expands our students’ knowledge, opens their horizons, and tests and refines their aspirations. We unlock our students’ potential and give them the skills, values, habits, networks, and experiences needed to launch into successful lives.
After 6 Months
Within six months of graduation, 85 to 90 percent of alumni are employed, in graduate school, or completing post-graduate service (Teach for America, Fulbright, Peace Corp, AmeriCorps, Lutheran Volunteer Corps, and City Year). These charts illustrate the outcomes for students in the three most recent graduating classes. Note that the data are based on especially strong reporting rates, making this a very strong representation of the early success of Denison alumni.
Denison students’ acceptance rates into law and medical school are consistently better than the national average. (Percentage of applicants accepted, compared to the national average.)
A Denison education prepares students to compete for highly selective and prestigious international and national fellowships. These awards, including Fulbright U.S. Student Program awards, Gilman (for study abroad), Truman, Goldwater, and National Science Foundation scholarships, provide opportunities for Denison students and graduates to study and work abroad. The Lisska Center for Scholarly Engagement supports students in their applications for these awards.
More than 65 Denison students have received Fulbright fellowships, prestigious awards won through national competition. Denison students have won several types of Fulbright awards, including English Teaching Assistantships, Research and Study grants, and Fulbright Summer UK Institute Awards. Denison is a top producer of Fulbright and Gilman scholars. (Gilman awards fund study abroad for students with the highest level of financial need.)
Other prestigious awards won by Denison students include the Truman Scholarship, the Beinecke Scholarship, the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship, the Boren Scholarship for International Study, the Critical Language Scholarship, National Science Foundation (NSF), Graduate Research Fellowships Program (GRFP), scholarships from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), Humanity in Action, and the Udall Scholarship, as well as many other fellowships.
Since 2008, Denison has been a leader among small colleges producing the greatest numbers of Peace Corps Volunteers.
In addition, Denison graduates win prestigious and highly competitive positions with Teach For America, and consistently place at the top of our peer group in national rankings.
Note: The post-Denison outcomes provided reflect aggregate data for the classes of 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017 collected within six months of graduation for each class. These data are collected between May and November for the graduating cohort.
After 5 Years
What impact does a Denison degree have from the perspective of alumni five years after graduation? This survey highlights the current professional status for alumni five years after graduation and all the ways in which the Denison experience positioned alumni to lead successful lives—personally, professionally, and civically—after college.
At the five-year mark since commencement, nearly all alumni (99%) are currently employed or in graduate school. Alumni indicating “other” typically referred to being in a period of professional transition, articulating upcoming plans for graduate school or forthcoming entrepreneurial or artistic endeavors.
Using survey responses and professional profiles (LinkedIn), data on current status are based on an 80% knowledge rate for the members of the Class of 2010, 2011 and 2012.
Since graduating from Denison, 60% of alumni went on to pursue an advanced degree.
Source: Five-Year Out Alumni Survey (Class of 2010, 2011, 2012)
Response Rate: 44%
Types of Advanced Degrees Pursued By Alumni (of those Pursuing Advanced Degree)
Note: Master’s includes various types of Master’s Degrees including MA, MS, MPH, M.Arch, M.Div., M.Ed, MPP, MSW, etc. MD category also includes DO, DMD, DPT, DVM, and OD.
89% of alumni report Denison prepared them very well for graduate school.
86% of alumni report Denison prepared them very well for interpersonal relationships.
69% of alumni report Denison prepared them very well for civic engagement.
- 73% - Spent time volunteering/serving
- 66% - Been involved with your local community
- 65% - Led a group of people to accomplish a goal
- 31% - Served on a board or committee
- 9% - Participated in campaign work (for candidate/issue)
Reflecting back on their time at Denison, 92% of alumni report having close relationships with faculty and staff and 50% report having a research experience with a faculty member.
Most alumni report that these experiences were critically important to their post-Denison success.
The majority of alumni report that their co-curricular involvement (those who participated in internships, off-campus study programs, student organizations, athletics, and/or leadership positions) significantly impacted their post-collegiate success.
Our alumni overwhelmingly report that Denison significantly contributed to their ability to…
- 95% - Think critically and analytically
- 94% - Write clearly and effectively
- 89% - Work effectively in teams
- 91% - Speak clearly and effectively
We encourage students to explore and to take full advantage of the liberal arts. The very core of the liberal arts is that we prepare students to be successful in whatever profession they choose to pursue by providing them with skills in critical thinking, effective written and oral communication, leadership and civic engagement, and individual agency. Through these core outcomes, we prepare students to live and lead in a complex, global society.
Coming to Denison I was undecided about what career path I wanted to pursue after college. The liberal arts experience allowed me to gain versatile experience that is transferable throughout many fields. Gaining valuable writing skills, presentation of research, and participation in various clubs and organizations prepared me to grow in the corporate world. My Denison connections and education ultimately helped me get a job with Columbus’ biggest employer, Nationwide Insurance. My role as a Claims Analyst has allowed me to travel to other states and assess catastrophic losses after weather disasters and while in Columbus, I get to use the skills I obtained in my economics courses and analyze claims data as well as brainstorm with other associates on how we can improve our processes. Thanks to all my extracurricular involvement and collaborations with organizations on campus during my time at Denison, I am able to bring these skills to the conference room and contribute to Nationwide’s growth and development.
As a 2015 Denison graduate, I am grateful for four years of being encouraged to think with a curious and critical mind. As I grow personally and professionally, I'm finding the world requires us to make connections across disciplines, think critically, and navigate ambiguity—three skills a liberal arts education instills best.
At Denison, the relationships I built will never leave me. My professors and peers challenged me to think through complexity and inspired me to form points of view. Denison generates an exciting energy around learning and growing as an individual, and it is something I am homesick for each and every day.
“Who I am as a person today is tied, in no small part, to my time at Denison. My core values— justice, social responsibility, and a pursuit of knowledge— were all cultivated at Denison, and were similarly valued by my fellow Denisonians. The conversations I had at Denison instilled within me a sense of empathy that acknowledges the common humanity of individuals, which has been invaluable in divisive social climates.
The wealth of resources provided by Denison ensures that students are able to experience an extraordinary degree of personal, educational, and social growth. The kind of mentorship Denison offers is unparalleled, as is the caliber of its educators; I would not be pursuing my current educational goals if it weren’t for the deep admiration I have for my professors and advisors, as well as the encouragement they provided.
The myriad of available options enables a “choose your own adventure” path of development, creating a diversity of thought, even within the same socio-political spheres. At Denison I had difficult, but necessary conversations about social divisions, economic differences, and mental health. However, I could still tap into a strong support system of peers and mentors, which empowered me to draw personal boundaries, acknowledge my limitations, and seek help, when needed.”
“Having the opportunity to participate in a wide variety of campus organizations provided me with a diverse set of experiences that helped prepare me for life after college. In addition, I would not have been able to undertake a French major—including a semester abroad—while still completing all of the pre-med requirements, without the advice and support of the staff and faculty at Denison.”
“Because of Denison’s small class size, interdisciplinary focus, and intensive focus on academic writing, the transition into legal writing and critical analysis in law school was fairly natural. Many of my classmates, even from prestigious Ivy League colleges, had never engaged with their professors as peers in the ways that I had been able to. All of this meant that reading legal texts critically, learning a new style of teaching, writing in a new style, and being willing to approach professors with questions were all things that came to me more easily, I think, than my to peers. In turn, that has translated to success academically and a fairly relaxed law school experience. I should add, too, though, that my network of mentors from Denison - staff, faculty, and colleagues - continue to make themselves available to me for advice and encouragement.”
“At Denison, I worked very hard to excel academically, but I was also engaged in service learning and student leadership, while also maintaining outside interests and personal relationships. My three roommates and I had four different majors and sets of activities, but we always made sure we had time for family dinner at least once a week. We took road trips. Everyone came to my concerts in the Bandersnatch. I went to almost every women’s basketball game. Good friends off the hill would have me over several times a month.
I learned that academics are most valuable when they stand alongside community experience — while I was studying political theory about systems of power, I was also learning about access to justice by volunteering at the Legal Aid office in Newark. Those lessons have carried through. At law school, I knew that I was there to study refugee law, but I also started a pro bono project representing refugees. Once again, in-class and out-of-class learning proved complementary. Just as importantly, though, I learned that I can do better work when I have maintained my relationships and hobbies. No one can work all day, every day for any sustained period of time, and when you’re surrounded by fun and intelligent people, no one should want to. I have also carried those lessons through to my law school career. I attend as many sporting events as I can, and instead of the Bandersnatch, my friends and I go to karaoke every week. I spend time with my neighbors and roommates and let myself take breaks. Those little things keep me happier and healthier, and ultimately more successful in a high-pressure environment.”
“My legal studies and practical work have focused on international refugee issues. I have been a Fellow in Michigan Law’s Program in Refugee and Asylum Law, have worked for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, and have overseen a pro bono project that has assisted dozens of refugees seeking resettlement to the United States. I first engaged with refugee issues as a Young Scholar at Denison during the summer of 2008 doing research with Professor Isis Nusair. Knowing that I would be studying abroad in Jordan, Professor Nusair introduced me to the international debates surrounding Iraqi refugees in Jordan and the services that the international community provided to them. I wrote an extended research paper about refugees in Jordan and have never looked back.”
When I started at Denison as a freshman in 2010, I had no plans to go into the private sector – frankly, I had no idea where I’d end up. Four years later, I’d had an amazing and formative experience as a student at Denison, and I knew that Nielsen – a leading global market research company – was the right place for me to begin my career journey. It was at Denison that I developed my love of research, and gained very practical real-world experience as a research assistant.
Now that I’m here at Nielsen, I find the habits and mindsets that I picked up at Denison help me every day. Since I don’t come from a business school background, I was nervous that I’d be behind the curve as I started in my new role. It turns out that my experience has been just the opposite. Sure, it took a few weeks to pick up all of the new vocabulary, but market research is, at its heart, all about analysis, drawing out insights, and communicating them clearly and effectively both internally and to clients – all skills that I developed in the classroom and in leadership roles at Denison. Additionally, the adaptable mindset that I developed at Denison comes in handy when I need to learn how to use a new platform, or build a new type of report.
One of Nielsen’s core values is openness. That’s an attitude that I learned very early on at Denison. Now, I find that I listen to new ideas with receptivity, and I don’t turn down an invitation to work on a new project because it seems unrealistic or out of reach. The ability to take risks and to push the boundaries of my comfort zone has made me much more valuable to my team, and will be important factors as I move forward both professionally and personally!
My Denison experience helped me become a more efficient communicator which is essential to my job in admissions at Purdue University. From presentations on research and constant engagement in the classroom, to assisting as a panelist and host in the Denison Admission Office, I learned how to effectively communicate with others. I am able to connect with students daily on a personal level about the college experience because I am able to reflect on the many opportunities Denison had to offer. Denison challenged me to think outside of the box and step outside of my comfort zone and I am so happy to have had the experiences that I did during my 4 years on the hill, because they helped shape me into the professional I am today.
“I don’t know where I would be today without having spent 4 years at Denison. I credit Denison with helping me to mature, helping me to see the world differently, and above all helping me to work with all sorts of different people and cultures. No matter what our career, we have to do these things in our jobs every day, and I have noticed that fellow Denison grads and myself seem ahead of graduates of other universities in terms of our work ethic, vision, and ability to think outside the box and be open to new ideas and cultures. If I could do it all over again, I would absolutely choose Denison. 100%.
Denison educates the whole person in a very rigorous way. Classroom experiences are of the utmost quality and depth, but the out of classroom experience is also meaningful and dedicated. Whether you were in Greek life, or did community service, or were an athlete (or maybe all 3), Denison provided activities that enriched and supported the type of student you were in the classroom. Everyone left Denison more confident, more prepared, and more thoughtful than when we entered. When I graduated, the name Denison brought a good reputation and potential employers (even on the West Coast) knew that a Denison graduate had a serious, rigorous education.”
Starting with your first year on campus, and continuing five years after graduation, you’ll learn to combine your academic knowledge, values, and habits with the career-oriented skills, networks and experiences you need to be the architect of your own life.
And you’ll build the foundation of all of this, as you work with the Knowlton Center team, faculty, coaches and staff across Denison to help answer three pivotal questions:
- What kind of life do I want to lead?
- How do careers and professions fit into those lives?
- How do I use my time in college to develop the skills, values, habits, experiences and networks to get started?
The Knowlton Center for Career Exploration
You can tap Knowlton Center resources for career exploration over the entire four years of your time at Denison, and for five years after graduation.
Denison Connecting adds the power of almost 40,000 alumni and friends to your career network, getting together at events around the world to network and learn from fellow alumni and industry experts.
Featuring upcoming events and other opportunities for Denison alumni, parents, friends, students and faculty/staff to connect.
Students indicated how their experience at Denison has contributed to skills, knowledge and personal development in ways that connect to our core student learning outcomes. (Sources: College Senior Survey 2018; National Survey of Student Engagement 2017; EBI Resident Survey 2014)
Denison students are highly engaged in the co-curriculum, and 75% of Denison seniors report having held a formal leadership role in a student organization, which is significantly higher than students at similar institutions.
The Denison curriculum places a high emphasis on students’ ability to write well. Denison students reported writing significantly more than students at peer institutions (measured in number of pages).
Denison professors are scholars in their fields but also are masters in the crafts of teaching and advising. Denison seniors rated the quality of their interactions with their faculty advisors significantly higher than students at other Carnegie institutions.
Denison is a pluralistic community. The Denison experience provides opportunity to dialogue and learn from others. Denison students report dialoguing with others who are different than them (in terms of race, economic background, and political views) significantly more often than students at similar institutions.
Denison students actively engage in the opportunities offered by Denison. In comparison to seniors at Carnegie institutions, Denison seniors were significantly more likely to have conducted research with faculty, completed an internship or field experience, or studied abroad.
In comparison to seniors at other Carnegie institutions, Denison students were significantly more likely to say that their college experience contributed to knowledge, skills and personal development in: writing clearly and effectively, speaking clearly and effectively, and thinking critically and analytically.
Denison provides an intellectually rigorous curriculum. Denison seniors were significantly more likely to report that their coursework emphasized higher-order thinking than seniors at similar institutions, which are represented here as the Carnegie classification. Specifically, Denison students were more likely to report:
A Denison education is not about rote memorization of facts. In fact, Denison students are significantly more likely than students at similar institutions (represented here as Carnegie) to report that their coursework prompts reflective and integrative learning. Specifically, Denison seniors were significantly more likely to report having:
Note: These graphs compare Denison data to “Carnegie” and “National.” As classified by the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education, Denison’s Carnegie Classification is Baccalaureate Colleges—Arts & Sciences, thus comparing Denison to a group of similar institutions, mostly comprised of small, private colleges. “National” represents the data from all 983 institutions participating in the National Survey of Student Engagement in 2017.