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 29 Fulbright U.S. Student Program awards, 19 National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships, 13 Critical Language Scholarships, 5 DAAD Research Internships in Science and Engineering (RISE) in Germany, 5 Boren Scholarships/Fellowships for language study abroad, and 1 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.
“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.”
My Denison education has been indispensable in my post-grad professional life. On a very technical level, I gained skills through my Communication and English courses that help me on a day-to-day basis. I learned to collaborate with others, build relationships, write effectively, manage multiple projects at once and pay close attention to detail. All of these things, I’ve found, are valued in the Communications field. On a broader level, though, Denison helped me develop a more confident and self-asserting presence in the workplace. During one of my first employee reviews, my supervisor told me she was impressed with my willingness to voice my opinion and challenge our organizational conventions. I have no doubt that those skills were fostered in the Denison classroom, where debate and reflection are encouraged and expected.
I met some of my best friends during my time on The Hill. I met people who share my values and interests, and I’m incredibly grateful to Denison for providing the stage for these relationships to grow. However, I think an even bigger advantage Denison gave me was to introduce me to people with different backgrounds, values, opinions and interests. These relationships expanded my horizons and have helped me build more diverse and strong-rooted connections post-graduation.
Denison gives its students every opportunity to explore and engage with issues that matter personally to them. With Denison’s help (shout-out to the Center for Career Exploration), I was lucky enough to secure a Marketing internship with Make-A-Wish during my junior year of college. In four short months, I truly fell in love with the mission of the organization and began to realize that my Denison skills – writing, creative problem solving, collaboration, communication, etc. – could directly impact and improve the lives of others. Now, I get to use my Denison education every day to make a difference for kids and families locally and across the country.
“A Denison education is truly invaluable. It may sound like a cliché MasterCard tagline, but I do believe that it’s impossible to measure the many ways that Denison has shaped my life. I attribute my success in graduate school and in my first professional position to the great instruction and opportunities in the classroom. Denison helped me meet people from very different backgrounds, and to appreciate difference. It helped me take a myriad of interests and find a common theme to connect them all. Denison challenged me to be comfortable with ambiguity and complexity in situations lacking clear answers. Furthermore, it taught me that most situations, in fact, do not have one clear truth. My education helped me challenge the status quo, feel empowered to impact the larger community, and take risks.”
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 taught me how to “learn how to learn”, communicate effectively, problem solve, and interact with others at a professional level, thereby allowing me to feel comfortable in any situation. Denison has allowed me to be a competitive candidate for job opportunities because I learned valuable skills that I use daily in my professional life.”
“I have been engaged with my local community on multiple levels, including purchasing a home in the neighborhood which I teach so I am truly a part of that community. I also have gotten more involved with Special Olympics and Habitat for Humanity on local, national, and global campaigns. I learned how to actively be a supportive member of a community at Denison and balance my time so that I am able to work full-time, get a master’s degree, volunteer, and have a family all at the same time.”
“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 have begun to settle into my role as an Assistant Hall Director and graduate student at The Ohio State University, and I already stand apart from peers and colleagues. I couldn’t say this without having had the experiences that I did while at Denison. I owe a huge part of my successes, and my opportunities to the faculty, staff, and students at Denison. From day one, I was supported, valued, given a voice, and allowed to implement change in policies and procedures at the school alongside my peers, and the administration at Denison. Those opportunities not only are the reason I stand apart but haven given the tools and knowledge that has helped me transition into a young professional in the field of Higher Education and Student Affairs. In short, I have learned a lot from being a student at Denison. I also benefited from being a varsity athlete at Denison. Being a member of Men’s Swimming and Diving all four years taught me invaluable lessons like how to have integrity, grit, and a growth mindset in all aspects of my life. Those lessons have already come to play in my new role at OSU. Without Denison, I wouldn’t be where I am today.”
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.