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Report: First destination after undergraduate degree

feet of graduate wearing rain boots
What's your next step after graduation? We asked. Grads told us.

Our FIRST DESTINATION REPORT is based on our survey of new graduates, to learn their first destination after the undergraduate degree; whether working, continuing education, in military service, volunteering, seeking, etc.

To see complete data for each major and college, go to full reports by academic year.


 

NOTE: We are still in process of updating highlights to include data from the 2019-2020 report. Until that is done, some 2018-2019 data highlights remain on this page. All reports and highlights are subject to update and correction.

FULL REPORTS by academic year:
Complete data for MAJORS, COLLEGES, and UNIVERSITY

These reports tell the first destination information for graduates of that academic year. Select a year to see the menu to choose a major, a college, or whole university report.

All report information is subject to correction and updating.

HIGHLIGHTS
Some data for university and colleges only

UNIVERSITY AND COLLEGE RESPONSE PERCENTAGES & NUMBERS FOR TWO YEARS:

Response rates 2019-2020
%
2019-2020
N
2018-2019
%
2018-2019
N
Total university 31% 2113 55% 3789
College of Agriculture & Life Sciences 21% 154 45% 404
College of Architecture & Urban Studies 28% 112 48% 216
College of Business 53% 611 63% 769
College of Engineering 30% 562 62% 1155
College of Liberal Arts & Human Sciences 23% 267 49% 583
College of Natural Resources & Environment 28% 78 63% 186
College of Science 28% 329 50% 476

Why are response rates so much lower for 2019-2020?
See COVID-19 impact on 2019-2020 survey timeline and response rate

BAR GRAPH UNIVERSITY AND COLLEGE RESPONSE PERCENTAGES AND NUMBERS 2019-2020

As you view data for total university, it is important to note that the college populations and response rates are not equivalent. University data are influenced by the larger populations of respondents. The same applies when viewing college data (see full reports); majors with larger populations and more respondents have more influence on the data of the college of which they are a part.


HIGHLIGHTS: TOTAL UNIVERSITY RESPONSE RATE AND FIRST DESTINATION FOR TWO YEARS:

First destination 2019-2020
%
2019-2020
N
2018-2019
%
2018-2019
N
Response rate 31% 2113 55% 3789
Working 64% 1352 60% 2261
Continuing education 16% 343 17% 633
Military 2% 45 3% 99
Volunteering 1% 16 1% 33
Seeking work 13% 282 16% 617
Seeking continued education 3% 64 3% 127
Not seeking 1% 11 1% 19

TOTAL UNIVERSITY, TWO YEARS, FIRST DESTINATION BAR CHART:

BY COLLEGE, TWO YEARS, FIRST DESTINATION BAR CHARTS:

Note about still-seeking respondents:
Grads who reported seeking (work or continuing education) were able to update their responses any time until the survey closed, but there is no way to force them to do so.

Note about annual comparisons:
The change in survey instrument (Handshake) starting with the 2018-2019 cohort means we cannot make exact comparisons to prior years' data. You can view a 2017-2018 summary first destination bar chart.

NOTE: During spring 2021 we are in process of updating highlights. 2018-2019 highlights remain on this page until updates are published.

HIGHLIGHTS: TOTAL UNIVERSITY CONTINUING EDUCATION AND DEGREE LEVELS, 2018-2019:

  • 17% of respondents [N=633 grads] reported continuing education, including all degree levels.
  • 11% reported master's degree.
  • 3.9% reported doctoral degree.
  • 1.5% reported one of the following: bachelor's; associate's; certificate; advanced certificate; or non-degree.
  • 0.4% did not provide degree information.

By college: (1) continuing education percentages are in the first destination accordion above; (2) degree breakdowns are in the charts below.

TOTAL UNIVERSITY: CONTINUING EDUCATION BAR CHART, 2018-2019:

GRADUATE DEGREES AND INSTITUTIONS

FIRST DESTINATION EMPLOYMENT, TOTAL UNIVERSITY, TWO YEARS

First destination responses related to employment 2019-2020
%
2019-2020
N
2018-2019
%
2018-2019
N
Response rate 31% 2113 55% 3789
Working 64% 1352 60% 2261
Military 2% 45 3% 99
Volunteering 1% 16 1% 33
Seeking work 13% 282 16% 617
Not seeking 1% 11 1% 19

 


EMPLOYERS, JOB TITLES, AND LOCATIONS

 


MOST-REPORTED EMPLOYERS BY EMPLOYED 2019-2020 GRADS

 

 


SALARY AND BONUS DATA, 2019-2020

  • Employed graduates (working and military) are asked to report salary and bonus.
  • 76% of employed grads, N-1064, reported salary.
    24% of employed grads did not tell their salary.
  • University median salary is $64,500.
  • 30% of employed grads, N-418, received a bonus.
  • University median bonus is $5,000.
  • We report median (the value in the middle) and not mean (the average) because the median is more reliable. Averages are skewed by outliers. Medians provide a more realistic picture. Particularly with self-reported data, errors and inaccuracies occur, making averages more subject to being skewed.
  • Salary and bonus information for each college and major is in the academic year full report.
    Medians are shown when four or more individuals reported salary or bonus; 25th and 75th percentiles are shown when 12 or more individuals reported salary or bonus.
  • View salary table with data for university, each college, and each major.
  • View bonus table with data for university, each college, and each major.

HOW EMPLOYED GRADS FOUND JOB, 2019-2020 GRADS

Grads were asked: 
Regarding the job you accepted: Which best describes the way you first made contact with this employer?

  • 10% worked or volunteered with the employer in the past.
  • 14% knew or met the employer through someone I know / networking.
  • 26% career fair.
  • 6% Handshake (job posting platform used by Virginia Tech for employers to post jobs for VT students).
  • 3% employer interviewed in Smith Career Center through the On-Campus Interviewing Program.
  • 9% went directly to the employer's website.
  • 12% used a job-seeker website other than Handshake.
  • 2% through info posted or messaged from my academic department.
  • 2% employer spoke at a presentation I attended.
  • 15% did not answer.

Below is university data. To see data for majors and colleges, go above to: 
FULL REPORTS by academic year: Complete data for MAJORS, COLLEGES, and UNIVERSITY

JOB RELATED TO CAREER GOALS AND MAJOR, TOTAL UNIVERSITY, TWO YEARS

Employed grads were asked:
Do you consider your job to be related to your career goals? 

Job related to career goals 2019-2020 2018-2019
Very 60% 60%
Somewhat 24% 18%
Not 3% 2%
Did not answer 13% 19%

Employed grads were asked:
Do you consider your job to be related to your college major?

Job related to college major 2019-2020 2018-2019
Very 56% 58%
Somewhat 26% 18%
Not 5% 5%
Did not answer 13% 19%

Below is university data. To see data for majors and colleges, go above to: 
FULL REPORTS by academic year: Complete data for MAJORS, COLLEGES, and UNIVERSITY

LEARNED JOB SEARCH SKILLS DURING COLLEGE? TWO YEARS

Grads were asked:
Which best describes the extent to which you learned job search skills during college

Learned job search skills: 2019-2020 2018-2019
I learned most that I needed 27% 28%
I learned some, but not all, that I needed 42% 46%
I learned nothing, or very little 10% 8%
 Did not answer 20% 18%

 

USED CAREER CENTER?

Grads were asked:
As you recall: During college, did you use any resources provided by the Virginia Tech career center? (could include advising, workshops, website, Handshake, employment interviews, etc.)

Used career center: 2019-2020 2018-2019
Never 13% 16%
Don't recall or unsure 8% 11%
Yes, but not often 46% 48%
Yes, often 12% 8%
 Did not answer 20% 16%

 

SOURCES OF LEARNING JOB SEARCH SKILLS

Grads were asked:
If you learned job search skills, where did you learn them? Check all that apply.

Where learned job search skills 2019-2020 2018-2019
Career & Professional Development; advising, presentations, website, etc. 34% 34%
Career Planning Guide; booklet free to VT students from CPD. 12% 13%
Other books, magazines, print materials. 6% 7%
Websites external to Virginia Tech. 33% 36%
Academic-credit course in my major or college. 28% 29%
Not-for-credit program in my major or college. 5% 4%
Advisors, staff, professors in my major or college. 38% 39%
Other VT advisors, staff, professors, NOT in my major or college. 12% 11%
Employers, mentors at jobs, internships. 47% 48%
Parents, adult relatives, family friends. 47% 52%
Peers. 44% 46%
 Did not answer 20% 16%

 

GRAPHS BELOW OF 2018-2019 DATA / WILL BE UPDATED WITH 2019-2020 DATA LATER.

2018-2019 grads: UNIV, more than half used career center.
2018-2019 grads UNIV learned job search skills from multiple sources.

EXPERIENCE DURING COLLEGE, TWO YEARS OF GRADS

Did you have any type of career-related experience during college? 2019-2020 2018-2019
Yes 71% 75%
No 7% 10%
Did not answer 22% 16%
SEPARATE AND RELATED QUESTION: (See REGRETS below.)
Grads who wished they had gotten more experience during college:
23% 31%
What types of experience did you have? Check all that apply. 2019-2020 2018-2019
Volunteer work 71% 75%
Part-time job 7% 10%
Summer job 25% 29%
Unpaid internship 11% 14%
Paid internship 58% 56%
Co-op 5% 5%
Undergraduate research 19% 20%
Field study 6% 9%
Did not answer 28% 24%
Virginia Tech grads indicated whether or not they had experience during college.

NUMBER OF UNPAID and PAID INTERNSHIPS, 2018-2019

NOTE: During spring 2021 we are in process of updating highlights. 2018-2019 highlights remain on this page until updates are published.

How many UNPAID internships did you have?

  • 0% Four or more
  • 1% Three
  • 3% Two
  • 13% One
  • 85% did not answer

 

How many PAID internships did you have?

  • 2% Four or more
  • 7% Three
  • 18% Two
  • 24% One
  • 48% did not answer
2018-2019 grads: College of Science: 50% of those working say job is very related to career goals.

Graduates were asked:
If you could start over in college, is there anything you would do differently related to career planning?

Responses:

No. Mostly I did what I needed to achieve my goals. 38%
Yes. I would do something differently. 46%
Did not give a response: 16%

I wish I had: (check all that apply) (top regrets in bold) % N
Learned more, or earlier, about career options. 33% 1242
Learned more, or earlier, about graduate or professional school. 18% 678
Asked advisors, staff, professors for advice, earlier, or more often. 27% 1011
Gotten more experience related to my major or career goals. 31% 1166
Started my job search earlier. 23% 883
Used more or different job search resources. 14% 524
(Did not check any regrets) 48% 1820

Above is university data. To see major and college data, go to top of page to see: 
FULL REPORTS by academic year: Complete data for MAJORS, COLLEGES, and UNIVERSITY.


More about the survey process

Data collection timeline / Methodology

  • Survey opens one month before commencement and closes six months after commencement. Grads have six months after commencement to tell and update their first destination.
  • Data collection closes mid-November for the previous May+summer grads. Report is published the following year.
  • Academic year grads are those who complete undergraduate degrees in December, Winter term*, May, Summer I & II. (*We added winter term graduates in the 2019-2020 year; winter term grads comprise a very small number.)
  • COVID-19 impact on the survey timeline for the May and Summer I/II, 2020 graduates.

HOW LONG DID NEW GRADS HAVE TO SELF-REPORT THEIR FIRST DESTINATION?

  • As explained above in data collection timeline / methodology, new grads are given over seven months to self-report.
  • The survey normally opens one month before commencement and closes six months after.
  • Please note COVID-19 impact on 2019-2020 survey timeline and response rate.
  • Non-respondents are reminded that they can self-report throughout that time.
  • Respondents who indicate "seeking" are reminded they can update response throughout that time.
  • Most responses to the survey are given by commencement.
  • See self-report timeline.

Covid-19 impact on survey timeline and response.
May and summer 2020 graduates.

  • The sudden shift to virtual instruction and services due to Covid-19 occurred in mid-March 2020, with significant impacts on employers' commitments and plans for hiring new graduates.
  • Normally, the first destination survey of May and summer graduates is launched in early April. In April 2020, we believed it would have been insensitive to launch the survey at that very difficult and disorienting time. Instead we directed efforts toward helping students and new graduates adjust to the changed economy for summer 2020.
  • We opened the survey to that subcohort in early August 2020, and extended the close date to late January 2021. 
  • Graduates traditionally respond in very low numbers after commencement.