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Report: First Destination After Undergraduate Degree

March 2021: We are in process of publishing the 2019-2020 report and updating highlights. 2018-2019 highlights remain on this page until updates are published.

We survey new graduates, completing undergraduate degrees, to learn their first destination, whether working, continuing education, in military service, volunteering, seeking, etc. The survey stays open for six months after commencement.

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

Academic year FULL REPORTS
Complete data for total university, each college, and each major

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 informaton is subject to correction and updating.

Latest report HIGHLIGHTS
Some highlight data for total university and colleges

Response rates to First Destination Survey: 2019-2020 grads

Purpose of the survey is to learn what Virginia Tech graduates are doing as their first destination after the undergraduate degree.


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

UNIVERSITY AND COLLEGE RESPONSE RATES FOR TWO YEARS:

2019-2020 2018-2019 response rates
31% 55% University
21% 45% College of Agriculture & Life Sciences
28% 48% College of Architecture & Urban Studies
53% 63% College of Business
30% 62% College of Engineering
23% 49% College of Liberal Arts & Human Sciences
28% 63% College of Natural Resources & Environment
28% 50% College of Science

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

First Destination after undergraduate degree:
Two most recent academic year reports

Virginia Tech graduates, first destination after the undergraduate degree, based on voluntary response to First Destination Survey.

TOTAL UNIVERSITY RESPONSE RATE AND FIRST DESTINATION FOR TWO YEARS:

2019-2020 2018-2019 first destination
31% 55% response rate
64% 60% working
16% 17% continuing education
2% 3% military
1% 1% volunteering
13% 16% seeking work
3% 3% seeking continued education
1% 1% not seeking

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.

March 2021: We are in proces of making updates to include 2019-2020 data.

Continuing education after undergraduate degree: 2018-2019 grads

TOTAL UNIVERSITY CONTINUING EDUCATION AND DEGREE LEVELS:

  • 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.

Graduate degrees and institutions

March 2021: We are in proces of making updates to include 2019-2020 data.

Employment after undergraduate degree: 2018-2019 grads

First destination employment, total university:

  • 60% of respondents [N=2261 grads] reported working.
  • 3% of respondents [N=99 grads] reported military service.
  • 1% of respondents [N=33 grads] reported volunteering.
  • 16% of respondents [N=617] reported they are seeking employment.

See percentages for each college in first destination above.

 


Employers, job titles, and locations:

 


Most-reported employers:

  • Employers are ordered by number of respondents who reported working for this employer.
  • The first ranked employer was reported by 56 grads, comprising 2.37% of employed respondents.
  • Ten employers were each reported by more than 20 grads. This includes Virginia Tech, reported as the employer by 23 grads, and is in the number nine spot.

 

 


Salary and bonus data

  • Employed graduates (working and military) are asked to report salary and bonus.
  • 83% of employed, N-1968, reported salary.
  • University median salary is $61,800.
  • 31% of employed, N-741, 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.
For 2018-2019 grads who reported employment, median salary is $61,800, and median bonus is $5,000.

March 2021: We are in proces of making updates to include 2019-2020 data.

How employed grads found job: 2018-2019 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).
  • 2% employer interviewed in Smith Career Center through the On-Campus Interviewing Program.
  • 9% went directly to the employer's website.
  • 7% used a job-seeker website other than Handshake.
  • 2% through info posted or messaged from my academic department.
  • 1% employer spoke at a presentation I attended.
  • 21% did not answer.
graph: 10% of 2018-2019 univ grads found job with employer they previously worked or volunteered with.

March 2021: We are in proces of making updates to include 2019-2020 data.

Job related to career goals and major: 2018-2019 grads

Grads were asked:
Do you consider your job to be related to your career goals? 
... your college major?

JOB RELATED TO CAREER GOALS:

  • 60% Very
  • 18% Somewhat
  • 2% Not
  • 19% No answer

JOB RELATED TO COLLEGE MAJOR:

  • 58% Very
  • 18% Somewhat
  • 5% Not
  • 19% No answer
2018-2019 grads: College of Natural Resources and Environment: 61% of those working say job is very related to career goals.

March 2021: We are in proces of making updates to include 2019-2020 data.

Career preparation during undergraduate degree: 2018-2019 grads

LEARNED JOB SEARCH SKILLS DURING COLLEGE?

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

  • 28% learned most that I needed.
  • 46% learned some, but not all, that I needed.
  • 8% learned nothing, or very little.
  • 18% did not answer.

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.)

  • 16% never.
  • 11% don't recall or unsure.
  • 48% yes, but not often.
  • 8% yes, often.
  • 16% did not answer.

SOURCES OF LEARNING JOB SEARCH SKILLS

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

  • 34% Career & Professional Development; advising, presentations, website, etc.
  • 13% Career Planning Guide; booklet free to VT students from CPD.
  • 7% Other books, magazines, print materials.
  • 36% Websites external to Virginia Tech.
  • 29% Academic-credit course in my major or college.
  • 4% Not-for-credit program in my major or college.
  • 39% Advisors, staff, professors in my major or college.
  • 11% Other VT advisors, staff, professors, NOT in my major or college.
  • 48% Employers, mentors at jobs, internships.
  • 52% Parents, adult relatives, family friends.
  • 46% Peers.
  • 22% Did not answer.
2018-2019 grads: UNIV, more than half used career center.
2018-2019 grads UNIV learned job search skills from multiple sources.

March 2021: We are in proces of making updates to include 2019-2020 data.

Experience during college: 2018-2019 grads

Grads were asked:
Did you have any type of career-related experience during college?

  • 75% said yes
  • 10% said no
  • 16% did not answer 

Grads were also asked about regrets related to career planning.

  • Even though 75% of grads had experience, 31% of graduates wished they had gotten more experience during college.

Grads were asked to check all types of experience they had.
TYPES of experience:

  • 22% Volunteer work
  • 27% Part-time job
  • 29% Summer job
  • 14% Unpaid internship
  • 56% Paid internship
  • 5% Co-op
  • 20% Undergraduate research
  • 9% Field study
  • 24% Did not answer types of experience

 

2018-2019 graduates: total university, 7% had career-related experience during college.

NUMBER OF UNPAID and PAID INTERNSHIPS

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.

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, May, Summer I & II. For the 2019-2020 year, we included the winter 2020 grads (which comprise a very small number) with the December 2019 survey sub-cohort.
  • COVID-19 impact on the survey timeline for the May and Summer I/II, 2020 graduates.

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.