Class of 2021 shows ‘strong’ outcomes in three-month post-graduation report

New data from Elon's Student Professional Development Center documents the success of last year's graduating class three months following graduation.

Elon University alumni from the Class of 2021 have shown a slight increase in key areas, highlighting a step towards stability in the lives of students post-Elon.

The Student Professional Development Center (SPDC) has released a three-month post-graduation report from the Class of 2021 that reflects strong outcomes.

  • 75 percent of survey respondents have reported accepting a job
  • 93 percent of all those reporting employment indicate that their position “is related to my career objective”
  • 19 percent report acceptance to a graduate or professional school program
  • 85 percent are either employed, attending graduate school, completing post-graduate internship/fellowship, or working for a service organization
  • 90 percent of all graduates utilized the SPDC during their time at Elon, which is well above the most currently reported national average
  • 88 percent of graduates completed an internship 

A telling piece of the data is the percentage of Class of 2020 and 2021 who went on to pursue graduate degrees, said SPDC Director Brook Buffington. Traditionally, difficult economic times and a tough job market make graduate school a more attractive option following graduation, but that hasn’t necessarily been the case for Elon grads during the pandemic, she said.

“I started in this field in 2008, which was another big economic downturn and we saw our graduate school numbers tick up because students said, ‘I’m not going to go out into that,’” Buffington said. “This time, we saw our graduate school numbers stay consistent with previous years, in between 20 percent and 25 percent.”

The Class of 2021 saw an uptick in all other categories compared to their fellow alumni from the year before, who earned their degrees just as the pandemic was initially gaining steam. The portion of respondents surveyed three months after graduation who reported accepting a job rose by five percentage points, as did the percentage of those who were either employed, attending graduate school, completing a post-graduate internship or fellowship or working for a service organization.

The SPDC has had to change the way it prepares students for post-graduate success with so much of the career landscape drastically changing due to COVID-19. Most employers are in the process of reshuffling how they are run and recently graduated students find themselves in the middle of navigating through these changes.

Cementing yourself into a company’s culture and dynamics is difficult under pre-COVID and in-person circumstances, Buffington said, but those challenges are increased when working virtually.

“No longer are we coaching them on how to be good in a room. We have to coach them on how to be great on Zoom,” Buffington said. “Everybody’s trying to figure out what post-pandemic work life looks like and our students graduating just happen to be in the middle of that.”

Some of the top employers which Class of 2021 graduates found themselves starting their careers are:

  • AT&T
  • Bank of America
  • Credit Suisse
  • Deloitte
  • Ernest & Young
  • Fidelity
  • FTI Consulting
  • Horizon Media
  • JPMorgan Chase & Co.
  • KPMG
  • Oracle NetSuite
  • PricewaterhouseCoopers
  • Wayfair
  • Wells Fargo