A.K.A. Methodology

What | why | who:

  • The First Destination  Post-Graduation Report is based on self-report by graduates, through six months after commencement. 
  • All Virginia Tech graduates who are awarded *undergraduate degrees are invited to complete the First Destination Post-Graduation Survey.
    [*Undergraduate degrees include bachelor's and associate's degrees; Virginia Tech has one associate's degree program.]
  • The survey is conducted annually with the graduates for that academic year.
    The 2015-2016 report is based on self-report from graduates who complete degrees in December 2015, May 2016, and Summer I and II 2016.
  • The primary purpose is to learn the current status of graduates regarding their first destination after the undergraduate degree — whether they have accepted employment, are continuing education (graduate or professional school, or other), or are in process of pursuing one of these goals.
    • We also ask graduates how they prepared for life after college, including what career-related experience they had, and if they have regrets about their preparation.
  • We publish responses viewable by major, college and total university.
  • The First Destination Post-Graduation Report is used by the Virginia Tech Office of Institutional Research and 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.

When | how:  Timing and process:

  • The survey is online, continuously open for about seven months. 
    • For survey timing, December graduates are a subcohort, and May and Summber I and II graduates are a subcohort.
    • The survey opens approximately one month before commencement (November for December graduates; April for May and summer graduates).
    • The survey closes at six months after commencement (mid-June for December grads, and mid-November for May and summer grads). 
  • Graduates can respond and update their responses through six months after commencement. 
    • Therefore, graduates who are seeking employment or applying to continuing education at the time of commencement can update their responses when they secure employment or admission, up to six months after commencement. Periodic email reminders ask them to do so. 
    • Graduates who update their responses do not have to re-enter their previous responses to survey items; they simply may update responses as needed.
  • Graduates log in with PID and password to ensure that only graduates can self-report. 
    • Graduates are not asked to provide major or graduation term. That information is pulled from university data.
  • The survey is user-friendly.
    • After each respondent indicates current status (e.g. employed, service work, admitted to continuing education, seeking, etc.) all other survey responses are optional. There are no error messages for skipped responses.
    • The survey takes an average of about five minutes to complete.

Confidentiality in reporting | aggregage data:

  • Individual responses are confidential.
    • Names of individual graduates are not published.
    • Individual responses are not shared with anyone.
  • Individual salary data is confidential.
    • Individual salary responses are not published or connected to an individual's job title or employer.
    • Salary data is shown in aggegate by major and college, where a sufficient number of responses are received. Median is shown if four or more salaries are reported. The 25th and 75th percentiles are shown if 12 or more salaries are reported.
    • Medians are reported based on professional recommendation by the Office of Assessment and Evaluation. Averages can be skewed by outliers.


  • Career and Professional Development has administered this data collection on behalf of the university beginning with the 2003-2004 graduates. 

If you have questions: