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.
My Denison experience has prepared me exceptionally for the engagements that I am currently involved in relating to sustainability, food justice, and social justice advocacy. My curricular, as well as co-curricular activities at Denison exposed me to the complexity and intersectionality of global systems, as well as deepened my interests in food, ecology, and agriculture. Serving as a 2015-2016 AmeriCorps VISTA Member at Tremont West Development Corporation in Cleveland, Ohio coordinating food access initiatives after graduation, and now as a Program Fellow at The Food Recovery Network in College Park, Maryland supporting West Coast colleges and universities in fighting waste and feeding people, has made me realize ever more the power of the Denison experience. Ironically, it was at Denison where I first heard of The Food Recovery Network (where we have a chapter!) and now where I work to support my alma mater, as well as 190+ chapters across the country in food justice initiatives. My gratitude for the college is immense, and it is especially clear to me now as it was during my admission journey, that choosing to attend Denison was the best choice for my personal, as well as professional development.
I am so thankful for the education I received both in and out of the classroom at Denison. In the classroom, I learned to be more comfortable with the process of learning. Studying new subjects can be intimidating, but the professors I had at Denison fostered supportive learning environments that gave me the confidence to explore and discuss unfamiliar topics with my peers. Now at my first job, I have much more to learn, but I am prepared to do so because of my Denison education.
Out of the classroom, my experiences were just as positive, especially when it came to mentorship and opportunities for community engagement. Denison professors make helping their students a priority, and the guidance I received from mine shaped my college experience and beyond. Similarly, the opportunities I had to work in local schools and hospitals throughout my time at Denison were not only enjoyable but also critical in helping me discover my professional interests and develop a sense of social responsibility. Now I am a research assistant at Nationwide Children’s Hospital investigating how children with serious or chronic illnesses function socially and academically. Because of my Denison education, I now have the skills necessary to work in a field I love.
“I learned more about politics, religious differences, world events, racism, prejudice, pride, gay rights, and social justice during my time at Denison than I did in all of my other years combined. I felt safe enough to truly grapple with some of the world's (and my own) biggest issues while at Denison: the life altering conversations with peers and professors still stick with me today. That type of engagement and commitment — I haven't found it anywhere else.”
My time at Denison was a transformative experience. I came into college quiet and reserved, unsure of what I wanted to do or who I wanted to be. I found friends and mentors who propelled me to work hard, try new things, and take risks. Not only did Denison provide a platform of support, it also offered invaluable opportunities through academics and extracurriculars, pushing me to grow and affect change within my community. Everyone at Denison is passionate and excited about something; every student, professor, and staff member wants to see one other succeed.
Through my involvements across campus, I came to understand my own values and priorities. This led me to the University of Pennsylvania where I’m now enrolled in the Urban Teaching Apprenticeship Program, a Master’s and teaching certification program serving students in the Philadelphia school system. My Denison classes and internships helped me discover the career I want to pursue in elementary education. My mentors at Denison helped shape who I am as a teacher and leader, and how I approach education as a means of empowerment.
Running student organizations, gaining experience in the field, and making deep connections across difference gave me confidence in my ability to listen to, work with, support, and uplift others. These skills have proven vital in working with children, parents, other teachers, and administrators. Most importantly, because of my experiences at Denison, I’ve grown into a caring, empathetic, and engaged citizen, not content to sit back and wait for things to happen but instead ready to use my own voice to create positive change. Teaching is my way of making this difference. I can honestly say that I wouldn’t be where I am today if it weren’t for Denison.
“My time at [Denison] gave me the reading and analytical skills that have made me a much more mindful consumer of news than I was before I went to college. Also, while at Denison I spent a lot of time being involved with community issues. If there were rallies on campus or big campus events or just little nooks and crannies of Denison culture, I wanted to experience them. I have taken that skill and applied it to my life afterwards, and it has paid off handsomely in community engagement.”
Choosing to attend Denison was singlehandedly the most fruitful and most important decision I’ve made thus far in my life. It dramatically changed the trajectory of my personal, educational, and professional development. I have not only four years of intense training, real world challenges, and exciting successes but a lifetime of friends, mentors, and a true community I can always come home to. First you experience it, then you go into the real world and you are it. You can feel it. It truly is the Denison difference.
“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.”
“My Denison education has allowed me to excel in my first job as I brought a valuable set of liberal arts skills to my career. The most tangible aspects of my Denison education that have been effective in my work-life are my abilities to problem solve, conduct research, write professionally, and express myself in a clear and concise manner. My Denison education provided me the space and opportunities to develop my professional skills in a variety of different settings, which has set me apart from my peers in the workplace.”
“My time at Denison allowed me to better understand who I am as a person and what I need to do to take care of myself (mentally, physically, emotionally, etc.). By the time I left Denison I better understood what it meant to care for myself and the tactical actions I needed to take to support my health and well-being. I attribute a large portion of this to the resources that were available to me through [the Whisler Center for Student Wellness]. Additionally, Denison provided me a safe space to explore who I am and what I am passionate about. This has allowed me to develop interests in, and connections to, similar communities outside of Denison. The best example of this is the fact that I grew into myself as a member of the LGBT community through my involvement in Outlook, and I have since established myself as a member of LGBT-related groups in both my work-life and community.”
“I am engaged with issues of both my local community and more global concerns. I intentionally sought out a smaller, more passionate neighborhood that would provide me an opportunity to more closely interact with my community. I am involved through service as well as social activities in my local community and within the city on the whole. I have become MORE engaged in global concerns since I left Denison… I became the most engaged with local and global issues through my academics at Denison. I was able to craft a curriculum for myself that really let me explore the things I was the most interested in. Denison also gave me the skills and opportunities to develop myself as a citizen, allowing me to understand my responsibilities and passion. Through this I have become a more active citizen and have taken an interest in advocating for the things I feel are most important to me in my world (whether that is on a micro or macro scale).”
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.