The Denison experience is unlike any other. We prepare our students for lives of professional, personal, and civic success. Data from our 2014 administration of the National Survey of Student Engagement reveal ways in which the Denison curricular and co-curricular experience prepares students for successful lives after college.
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.
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.
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: National Survey of Student Engagement 2017; EBI Resident Survey 2014)
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My Experience at Denison...
“My Denison education prepared me to deal with people from a variety of backgrounds and perspectives as I began my adult life and career. Like most Denisonians, my Denison education was not only in the classroom. The level of expected community involvement is very high at Denison, so Denison taught me how to balance “work” with the other things I was passionate about being involved with. The quality of the liberal arts education that Denison provides is truly outstanding. The writing and researching skills that I honed at Denison keep me well above my peers both at work and when I was in graduate school. The ability to communicate clearly and efficiently in my writing has helped me excel professionally and provided me opportunities I wouldn’t naturally pursue.”
“During my time at Denison I made friends that I treasure and found passions and hobbies that I didn’t know I had, but Denison does that to everyone! Specifically I learned the importance of creating a family of friends. Since so many of Denison’s students are from out of state, and we all live on The Hill, it is crucially important to create a chosen family. Learning how to open up to people and ask for help when you need it is important, and very important as a young adult. Denison allows, and encourages, professors and staff to mentor students and create bonds with them, there for guidance and advice. Denison is full of some of the most wonderful people on earth, and creating my own chosen family while I was there taught me that you can have family no matter where you are geographically.”
“Personally, while at Denison I was lucky enough to be able to study abroad. I chose to study in Germany partially because of some amazing classes I took at Denison about German history and culture. We have an amazing faculty who are experts in their field and are eager to open student’s eyes to the “outside world.” Denison encouraged me to engage with global issues through study abroad, and those experiences really influenced the rest of my education.”
“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 coursework at Denison heavily emphasized critical thinking, remaining objective when examining an issue, and clear communication. I can't think of anything that has been more valuable to me than just examining information with a critical eye. I can't read a news article or editorial without having 20 follow-up questions. That doesn't mean I necessarily dismiss the author's argument outright, but I try to look at it from all possible angles. Quite frankly, I think Denison has helped inoculate me against a lot of the vitriol that typifies our current media/political culture. I think that has made me a better citizen. If you're trying to look at an issue objectively, you can't get worked up into an emotional frenzy.”
My liberal arts experience at Denison has really helped me to adjust to law school. Denison’s small classroom sizes and emphasis on student participation prepared me for the classroom demands of law school. Through my years at Denison, I learned how to articulate my thoughts and contribute to meaningful discussion, which eased the anxiety that comes with class participation at times. Moreover, the abundance of leadership opportunities at Denison provided me with the ability to feel comfortable in those types of roles at Moritz. More specifically, my time as a Resident Assistant built the foundation for a lasting commitment to leadership roles at the school that require a lot of responsibility. Not only did my Denison leadership positions make me feel prepared, but they also made my employers and advisors feel as though I am qualified for new responsibilities.
Denison’s emphasis on involvement in civic activities planted a commitment in me to work in furtherance of others and not just myself. With law school comes loads of debt, but making money has never been my end goal upon graduation. After my involvement in Legal Aid Society through Denison Community Association, I knew that I wanted to provide my services to those most in need. This was solidified even more after my time abroad in Santiago, Chile. Thanks to this wonderful opportunity provided by Denison, I learned more about my passions and decided to pursue a career in immigration law. Through connections made at Denison, I currently clerk for an immigration firm in Columbus, helping others follow their dreams in the United States. As an added bonus, I get to put my degree to good use and practice my Spanish 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.”
“The value of a Denison education is that you get to live out so many significant experiences in four years while receiving guidance and support (financial, organizational, etc.) from the College. For example I was able to spend a summer abroad thanks to a CE&D stipend, and I was able to go to Nicaragua (all-expenses paid!) with the Educational Studies Department, all while playing a varsity sport and leading in other student organizations. I think it speaks to the strengths of our students that we can do this, of course, but really I think it highlights the strength of our institution that students even can pursue all of their interests in uncompromising ways in the first place. I am really thankful for the ways in which Denison engaged me as an undergrad and prepared me to be a lifelong learner.”
“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.”
“A Denison education is an extreme “best value”: never could I have expected to form such long-lasting and deep relationships, to have life-changing conversations with brilliant professors, to take on a real-life leadership position managing 100 volunteers (which would get me not just one but two jobs post-graduation), or to be pushed so far out of my comfort zone that I don’t even recognize myself at the end.”
After 5 Years
Five Years after Graduation
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
After 6 Months
Six Months After Graduation
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.
A Denison education prepares students to compete for highly selective and prestigious awards, honors, and experiences:
- Over 30 students received a Fulbright award. The Fulbright fellowships are prestigious awards won through a national competition. There are several types of Fulbright awards. In all, Denison students have won 24 Fulbright Teaching Awards, 5 Fulbright Research Awards, and 2 Fulbright UK Summer Program awards.
- 7 students have received a graduate research and study award from the National Science Foundation. These awards, won through a national competition, support students earning PhDs in the sciences.
- 10 students have received a Gilman Award through a national competition. The award supports students who study abroad.
- In addition, 16 other awards have been won by Denison students including awards from the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program, The Boren Scholarship for International Study, US Department of State Critical Language Scholarship Program, The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), Humanity in Action, and The Udall Scholarship.
- Since 2008, Denison has been a leader among small colleges producing the greatest numbers of Peace Corps Volunteers.
- In 2013, 15 Denison graduates won prestigious and highly competitive positions with Teach For America. Denison first debuted on the top contributors list in 2008 at the 10th spot, and in 2013 jumped to 4th. Throughout Teach For America’s 23-year history, 90 Denison alumni have taught as corps members.
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.)
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.