School of Communication

Student Success Rates

As a nationally accredited program, the School of Communications monitors four indicators of student success: enrollment, retention, graduation and employment. At Elon, students typically graduate in four years. In the School of Communications, internship and career services offices help guide students to the start of successful careers or graduate school.

Enrollment

The School of Communications is home to about 20 percent of Elon’s student body. As of Fall 2014, the school offers six undergraduate majors: Journalism, Strategic Communications, Cinema & Television Arts, Communication Design, Media Analytics, and Sport & Event Management.

The tables below reflect enrollment as of Fall 2013, when the school offered five undergraduate majors: Journalism, Strategic Communications, Media Arts & Entertainment (broadcast and cinema), Communication Science (which includes undesignated Communications students), and Sport & Event Management (a separate department in the school whose enrollment is reported below); otherwise, the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications specifies that retention, graduation and employment data be provided only for Communications as the accredited program.

  Fall 2013 Fall 2012 Fall 2011 Fall 2010
Journalism 211 188 187 161
Strategic Communications 426 392 386 366
Media Arts & Entertainment 231 252 293 256
Communication Science/undesignated 94 80 50 110
Sport & Event Management 161 142 132 122
UNDERGRADUATE TOTAL 1,123 1,054 1,048 1,015
GRADUATE PROGRAM                         Fall 2014 Fall 2013 Fall 2012 Fall 2011
M.A. in Interactive Media 32 38 27 41


Retention

Retention refers to the number of students who return to school the following year. One method of determining retention in a major is based on the entering first-year class. Another method is based on the last declared major of all students at the university. This section provides data for both methods of calculation.

Retention and Growth Based on Entering First-Year Class

When students are admitted to Elon, they are free to choose the major of their choice, unlike some journalism and communications programs around the nation that have their own admission process or restrict students from declaring a major until the junior year. As a result, high school students who express an interest in Communications in their application process to Elon become the entering first-year cohort in Communications.

The chart below shows that 195 students in the class of 2013 expressed an interest in Communications when they applied and were admitted to Elon in Fall 2009. Four years later, 177 of them (91%) were seniors at Elon, and 151 (77%) were Communications majors. In addition, another 86 students from that first-year class became Communications majors after they began at Elon, resulting in more students being Communications majors in the senior year than in the entering first-year cohort.

Source: Elon’s Office of Institutional Research

These tables reflect full-time first-year students entering Elon. It does not include transfer students, and it counts a student (for instance, those who double major) only once. The technical description is “unduplicated, first-time, full-time and first-year students enrolling at the university.” These tables and later ones do not include Sport and Event Management, which is a separate department in the school and not part of the accredited program.
 

Retention Based on Last Declared Major

Another way of determining retention in a major is based on the last declared major of all students at the university.

The chart below shows that Communications was the last declared major for 258 students in the Class of 2013. Some entered Elon as first-year students in Fall 2009 having expressed an interest in Communications, and others became Communications majors after starting at Elon.

Of those, 247 (96%) returned to Elon the following year, and 237 (92%) remained Communications majors by the senior year.

CLASS OF 2013CohortSophomore YearJunior YearSenior Year
Communications Majors 258 247 (96%) 242 (94%) 237 (92%)
All Elon Students 1,290 1,161 (90%) 1,109 (86%) 1,071 (83%)
         
CLASS OF 2012        
Communications Majors 244 219 (90%) 205 (84%) 206 (84%)
All Elon Students 1,291 1,152 (89%) 1,077 (83%) 1,044 (81%)
         
CLASS OF 2011        
Communications Majors 263 246 (94%) 229 (87%) 230 (87%)
All Elon Students 1,286 1,163 (90%) 1,075 (84%) 1,052 (82%)
         
CLASS OF 2010        
Communications Majors 238 223 (94%) 217 (91%) 214 (90%)
All Elon Students 1,283 1,158 (90%) 1,101 (86%) 1,074 (84%)

Source: Elon’s Office of Institutional Research

University retention rates reflect full-time, first-year students in all majors who remain at Elon at the time of fall enrollment each year. Because students may change majors at any time, retention data for Communications majors are calculated somewhat differently, based on their declared major at the time of fall enrollment each year.
 

Graduation

A four-year graduation is the norm for Communications students.

The entering Class of 2013 included 258 students whose last declared major was Communications. Of those, 237 graduated as Communications majors (151 of the 195 students who entered Elon as first-year students in Fall 2009 having expressed an interest in Communications, plus 86 students who became Communications majors after starting at Elon).

Overall, 239 students graduated as Communications majors in 4 years (by 2012-13), and another 4 graduated in 5 years (by 2013-14), for a total graduation rate of 92%.

CLASS OF 2013  4-Year Graduation5-Year Graduation
Communications Majors 258 233 (90%) +4 (92% total)
All Elon Students 1,290 1,032 (80%) pending August graduation
       
CLASS OF 2012      
Communications Majors 244 199 (82%) +7 (84% total)
All Elon Students 1,291 977 (76%) +56 (80%)
       
CLASS OF 2011      
Communications Majors 263 225 (86%) +5 (87% total)
All Elon Students 1,286 987 (77%) +56 (81%)
       
CLASS OF 2010      
Communications Majors 238 207 (87%) +7 (90% total)
All Elon Students 1,283 991 (77%) +69 (83%)


Employment

Elon is one of 82 universities that voluntarily participate in an annual employment survey of new Communications graduates. The Cox Center at the University of Georgia sends new graduates a questionnaire six months following graduation to ascertain their employment status, salary and satisfaction with their major. Second and third mailings are sent to non-respondents. In its latest available report, the Cox Center released the following data in August 2013 based on 1,989 usable responses (23.5% response rate) from 2012 Communications graduates nationwide.

Employment status of 2012 graduates at time of response

  Elon Comm Nat'l average
Employed full time 73.0% 65.6%
Graduate school 8.1% 5.9%
Employed part time 13.5% 14.7%
Not employed 5.4% 13.9%

Median salary of 2012 graduates

Elon Communications graduates $35,000
National average of Communications graduates $32,000

My college coursework prepared me for the job market.

  Elon Comm Nat'l average
Yes 77.1% 61.4%
Too early to know 14.3% 13.3%
No 8.6% 25.4%

My college coursework gave me the background to be a successful communicator.
94.4% of Elon Communications graduates agree or strongly agree (top two of five possible responses), compared to the national average of 81.4%.

My college coursework provided skills needed in today’s workplace.
86.1% of Elon Communications graduates agree or strongly agree, compared to the national average of 70.8%.

Instructors were current in their knowledge of the subject matter.
94.4% of Elon Communications graduates agree or strongly agree, compared to the national average of 83.1%.

Facilities and equipment were up-to-date.
91.7% of Elon Communications graduates agree or strongly agree, compared to the national average of 78.5%.
 

Alumni Survey

The School of Communications conducts a survey of its graduates every three years.

In the 2013-14 survey, 96% of the 136 respondents said they were employed, with 69% of them saying they work in a communications-related career and 27% saying they work in other careers. Of those responding, 18% of Communications alumni have attended graduate school, and 84% of them indicated that Elon prepared them well for graduate school.