Cautions and use of first destination data
How the data are used:
The First Destination Report is used by the Virginia Tech Office of Analytics and Institutional Effectiveness: Student Consumer Information to meet federal requirements for disclosure and reporting of data on "student outcomes," specifically employment and graduate/professional school "placement" following the undergraduate degree.
Note that "placement" is the term used in federal reporting requirements. Career centers typically do not use the term "placement" because this implies an action taken on a student's behalf by someone else who controls decision-making. Employment decisions and graduate school admission decisions are not controlled by career centers.
Important cautions and considerations when reading the data:
Data does not tell the whole story about individuals.
First destinations of new graduates are one factor to consider as students research majors for best fit and potential first-steps toward career goals. Many variables other than major contribute to new graduates' first destinations, and those factors cannot all be measured with a survey. Each graduate is an individual person who makes individual choices related to career planning and after-graduation pursuits. Numbers do not tell all the personal stories.
It's the economy.
The larger economy impacts the employability of graduates (Net job gains / losses by Metropolitan Statistical Area, 1999-present; Geography of Jobs).
Margin of error.
We have consulted with the Virginia Tech personnel with expertise in assessment for advice on the collection and interpretation of our data; consider all data in the reports as having a +/-5% margin of error.
No value judgment.
Career and Professional Development does not use first destination data to make value-judgments about majors.
First destination is about the first year only, not the long-term value of college.
This data set does not reveal the long-term value of an undergraduate education.
Career advising: early and often.
In Career and Professional Development we encourage students to seek career advising early in college — starting the first year. Our goal is to empower students with self-understanding and knowledge of the world of work so they can make decisions and take action to move forward on the journey toward their individual career goals.