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, 94% of the most recent graduating class were employed, in graduate school completing post-graduate service (Teach for America, Fulbright, Peace Corps, 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.
Since 2012-13, Denison students and alumni have received 43 Fulbright U.S. Student Program awards, 23 National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships, 17 Critical Language Scholarships, 5 DAAD Research Internships in Science and Engineering (RISE) in Germany, 6 Boren Scholarships/Fellowships for language study abroad, and 2 Beinecke Fellowship for graduate study.
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, 2012, 2013, and 2014.
Since graduating from Denison, 57% of alumni went on to pursue an advanced degree.
Source: Five-Year Out Alumni Survey (Class of 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014)
Response Rate: 42%
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.
90% of alumni report Denison prepared them very well for graduate school.
86% of alumni report Denison prepared them very well for interpersonal relationships.
70% of alumni report Denison prepared them very well for civic engagement.
- 75% - Spent time volunteering/serving
- 67% - Been involved with your local community
- 64% - Led a group of people to accomplish a goal
- 31% - Served on a board or committee
- 11% - Participated in campaign work (for candidate/issue)
Reflecting back on their time at Denison, 93% 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…
- 96% - Think critically and analytically
- 95% - 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 helped prepare me for success in many ways. I learned how to properly communicate both efficiently and effectively, and I also honed my ability to think outside of the box. The different classes that were made available while I was a student (such as learning how to use Excel pivot tables) provided me with the different skills needed in the professional world. This along with a plethora of other things helped prepare me for my new career, and I urge every student to take advantage of the opportunities that Denison provides.”
“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.”
Today I’m working for an innovative company on exciting projects with direct impact on the lives of real people. On a daily basis I’m interacting with a wide variety of people and am pushing myself to learn as much as possible in an unmistakably fast-paced and competitive field. While I’d love to take all of the credit for where I am today, my education and interactions at Denison have undoubtedly played a large part in my growth and have equipped me with the tools to be as successful as I can work to be.
Denison has given me incredible friends and connections all over the world. It’s reinforced the value of humility, gratitude, and empathy in my life and has stressed the importance of curiosity, creativity, and an ethical mindset when approaching problems in the real world. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, Denison has encouraged me to explore a love for entrepreneurship and has primed me to act in America’s crucible of innovation. These skills will be invaluable as I continue on in my life… no matter which direction the wind might take me.
“My Denison education taught me how to think analytically and critically. It helped me hone my writing skills, both in writing long research papers but also shorter, more policy memo-like papers. These skills have been incredibly helpful as I spent three years working in various think tanks in DC—first at the Pew Charitable Trusts and then two years at the Brookings Institution. They have also served me well so far in my graduate program at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton, where I work on public policy and write a lot of memos. In addition to the critical thinking and writing skills I honed at Denison, I benefited from the small class size. I always felt that I was able to, and encouraged to, share my opinion in class. While I still get nervous speaking in front of a group of people in an office environment, my experience at Denison taught me that my opinions matter, especially when I can share them thoughtfully and analytically.”
“I have greatly benefited from the connections I made at Denison. I developed a great relationship with my advisor, and he has helped me hone in on what I want to do. I have stayed in touch since I graduated and we have gotten dinner once a year for the last three years when he has been in DC. These are the types of connections that would not be possible at other schools.”
“My experience in economics and political science at Denison helped lead me to a summer internship in DC between my junior and senior years of college. I loved DC so much that I knew I wanted to be back after graduation. With the skills I honed at Denison and recommendations from fantastic professors, I was able to secure a competitive one-year fellowship at the Pew Charitable Trusts. I actively worked on fiscal and economic policy issues and found that I was interested in this type of policy work. I then moved to the Brookings Institution and spent two years working on various aspects of health policy. When I realized I needed the data skills to advance in my career, I applied to graduate school. I knew from my educational and career experience that I wanted to go into public policy so applied to the Master in Public Affairs program at Princeton. I believe that my commitment to public service, starting with Denison and fostered throughout my career, helped get me into such a prestigious school. After graduation, I hope to continue this public service in the federal government.”
When I think back to my time at Denison (it’s just been over a year), I often think about how similar the “Real World” is to the life I lived on campus, to life on the hill. I learned it’s all about perspective. A job working at a bank or a startup in New York is essentially the same thing as working as an RA or leading a campus organization. You have a set of responsibilities, goals to reach and a community to be a part of. Through this lens, almost everything I did at Denison was a testing ground for what my journey in the “Real World” would be. In essence, it was an easier, more forgiving environment that promotes making mistakes and learning from them.
If I look at the “skills” that I learned at Denison, the ones that have helped me the most are my ability to question and break down complex problems, build personal and close relationships within communities and to be curious. These three skills or abilities have helped me grow immensely in the last year and will forever challenge me, allowing me to perfect them every day. There are definitely other baseline skills such as effective writing that should not be taken for granted. But of all the skills, if you can sit in a room and stop a discussion because you had an insightful question that was phrased in an impeccable manner, one that helped others understand the topic more clearly, you have taken a step in the right direction. That is what I learned at Denison and still perfect every day.
“Education at Denison is, in a word, sweeping. It’s an education that covers such a wide-ranging variety of topics that I am never lost now that I have graduated into the ‘real world’, and one that sweeps you up with a thirst for knowledge and ideas. My Denison education promoted excellence in every category, and through the liberal arts motto and ideal I developed the functionality and organizational prowess needed to excel in all aspects beyond the hill. That thirst for knowledge has translated into a passion for learning, both in pursuing further education and in excelling in the work world. I have only been able to achieve and grow into a ‘real adult’ through the life skills gained at Denison. It is an irreplaceable experience to be exposed to such vibrant, vital and inspiring ideas as I found on the hill - an education that has made me who I am today.
Tangibly, Denison has given me the tools to make an impact. In my career, I have grown, developed and expanded my skills and reach within the company because of the tools I gained at Denison. My well-rounded educational background has allowed me to thrive on new projects, to step outside my comfort zone, and to impress others with my knowledge and skill base. Most impressive in my career has been the range of my skillset: at Denison I learned to write with flourish, to create print and electronic media that stands out, and to speak with conviction and passion – all with a Biology major.”
“Denison taught me to be kinder, more considerate, and more selfless. College life was never about competition (despite friendly inter-Greek life or intramural sport rivalries) and as a person I have grown into someone who supports others instead of looking first to myself. Selflessness gained through the community service projects and groups I was a part of has informed my most basic human interactions, and I would never have become ‘me’ without my time at Denison.”
“At Denison I was heavily involved in community service and was exposed to real world problems beyond myself and the Denison bubble. As a student, I took part in organizations such as Habitat for Humanity, seeking to end homelessness. As a ‘real world’ employee, I now sit on my company’s Charitable Giving Committee, planning a Day of Service event with Habitat for Humanity and distributing a sizeable charity budget to worthwhile causes. I remain engaged with service through my Denison experiences – by continuing my commitment to giving back, I have enhanced my awareness and participation in the issues facing society today.”
My Denison education has given me a breadth and depth across all subject matters, whereby I can respond and react to whatever situation I am placed in, and has given me an edge for success beyond college. My Denison education has ensured that I know not only about my Communication major, but also a little bit about Spanish, Psychology, Geology, Cinema, Accounting, and more (thanks to those GE requirements!) Therefore, a four-year Denison experience ultimately has us all prepared for moments of discomfort by having knowledge across all fields, while at the same time specializing in a field in which we are passionate.
Living on campus all four years fostered a caring community with people from different backgrounds, opinions, and beliefs, and prepared all graduates to face difficult conversations and deal with conflicting opinions. This type of experience gave me the opportunity to be in constant dialogue with others who differ from my own beliefs, to expand my knowledge, and to be open to new ideas and viewpoints. Denison has given me the tools and the passion to realize authentic communities of difference and empathy beyond the hill.
Denison’s liberal arts education has allowed me to not only think holistically, to understand and solve problems, to take different opinions into consideration but to then also question. These outlooks crafted at Denison, ultimately have helped provide fresh new perspectives and business partner relationships skills within my current fast paced rotational program at Discover card.
Denison formed who I was as an adult. It allowed me to cultivate social and educational experiences that led me down a path that has forever shaped what my life will become. When I started at Denison, I had a vague idea of what I wanted my future to become. It was through classes, late night conversations with my peers, and encouragement from my professors that I was able to gain enough confidence to believe that I could actually seize the future I had in my dreams. Not only did Denison provide me with the critical thinking skills and a liberal arts mindset, but it also helped me gain “real world” experience that helped me land a dream job prior to graduating. The Study Abroad office helped me be the first Denison student to enroll in a Fashion Design summer program in Florence, an experience that helped me stand out when applying to jobs with fashion companies. It was an alumnus who provided an internship with a fashion magazine at Conde Nast and it was ultimately a professor who helped connect me with my current job. Without Denison, I’m sure I would have had a fine life, but it would certainly not be the great life I’m leading now.
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.