Not every young graduate can tell the same story, but many of Cottle’s fellow graduates do have similar tales of success.
AU’s Career Development Center recently released a placement report representing the class of 2012, with results showing 85 percent of respondents had found full-time or part-time employment in a field related to their major while 10 percent were continuing their education.
The report is based on responses from 388 out of 396 bachelor’s degree recipients, representing 98 percent of the 2012 graduating class. Of those who responded, 70 percent reported that they are still in Indiana.
“We’re really excited,” said Brent Baker, vice president for Student Affairs. “We think it’s a good representation of the education a student can get at Anderson University.”
AU graduates’ success finding work mirrors a national trend. A New York Times article in May pointed out that the unemployment rate among people who graduated from college in the 2000s stood at just 5.6 percent, about three times below the rate for those with only a high school diploma or GED certification.
Cottle has worked at Fishhook, a public relations firm that assists Christian groups in Indianapolis, for about a week now. But before that, she’d worked at a large marketing corporation for about a year -- a job she got right after graduation.
She left her old job for Fishook because it was “the better fit.” Her AU education has helped her find her way professionally, she added.
“The great thing about Anderson is that it’s a small campus ... but gives the opportunities a big campus does,” Cottle said.
She said she gained confidence and built relationships while at AU, where she worked as a student in the university’s public relations firm. Four out of the nine employees at Fishook are AU grads.
Baker said the success of AU’s graduates can be attributed to a few factors: the quality of the faculty, the Career Development Center’s ability to connect graduates, and the students themselves.
“We’re encouraged by the improving college labor market as reported in the 2012-2013 Recruiting Trends survey,” Laurie Judge, Career Development Center director, said in a press release. “However, it’s still pretty tough out there, so our students have to go above and beyond to acquire the skills and experiences that will set them apart from the rest of the candidate pool.”
She added that “the reality of today’s labor market suggests new graduates have to be more prepared in the softer skill areas employers are seeking today — things like demonstrated leadership, problem solving and people skills.”
Those areas, Judge said, are nurtured in a liberal arts school setting.
Baker added that internships and hands-on projects are often built into AU’s curriculum. Businesses aren’t only looking for a degree holder, he pointed out, but for graduates to “point to a way they’ve put their education to use while in school.”
The New York Times article in May noted that, increasingly, Americans are recognizing that a college degree is necessary for gainful employment. About 32 percent of able-bodied and able-minded Americans who had not served prison sentences have college degrees. As recently as two decades ago, the percentage with a college degree was about 22.
By the Numbers Here are some additional highlights from Anderson's University's 2012 placement report:
- The College of Science and Humanities awarded the greatest number of degrees for the Class of 2012 with 184, or 46 percent of the graduating class. The placement rate for the college was 96 percent (83 percent employed and 13 percent continuing on to graduate school).
- The Falls School of Business awarded 81 degrees representing 21 percent of the class of 2012. The placement rate was 96 percent (79 percent employed and 17 percent continuing their studies).
- Sixteen percent of the class of 2012 earned degrees through the College of the Arts. The placement rate was 92 percent (89 percent employed and 3 percent continuing on to graduate school).
- The School of Education represented 8 percent of the class of 2012. The placement rate was 91 percent (88 percent employed and 3 percent continuing on to graduate school).
- The School of Nursing graduated 31 nurses, with 100 percent reporting employment.
— Dani Palmer is a reporter for The Herald Bulletin. Reposted with permission.
Anderson University is a private Christian university of about 2,600 undergraduate and graduate students in central Indiana. Anderson University continues to be recognized as one of America's top colleges by U.S. News and World Report, The Princeton Review, and Forbes. Established in 1917 by the Church of God, Anderson University offers more than 65 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, music, nursing, and theology.